Listen With Others

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Listener 4343: Bear, Bear, Bearing by Chalicea

Posted by Jaguar on 15 May 2015

“Hope you are willing to blog next week as I won’t be able to.”

So it is that Shirley lets me know that this week she has her setters’ hat on as Chalicea makes her third appearance in the Listener series. I guest-blogged the first, way back in 2013 and all about Anmer, the famous horse who struggled to win a race that one time because some woman got in the way apparently; and last year saw her produce a map of France. That one held me up rather, with the grid being a Carte Blanche, not rectangular and a sneaky little single-cell at the top that held me up for a while. And of course she’s a regular in the EV and Magpie series as well, so I’ve run into her puzzles fairly often. Generally not too difficult but with some fun packed into the grid as an expected but always welcome reward. Oh, and I’ve had such a tiring week (first time for everything!) that I was half-hoping for a Listener that wouldn’t keep me too occupied. So, on with the puzzle!

After an almost 8.00p.m.  finish at the office my attempts on Friday to get going didn’t really go too far. Indeed, for a while I was staring at clues and making very little out of them. Or, at any rate, not being able to work out the answer to reasonably obvious wordplays. Clearly anagrams at 30ac and 41ac, for example, but ALBUMEN didn’t find its way into the grid until Saturday, and DON’T SAY was about the last entry I fit into the grid (maybe last but one). Also I figured that 45 was probably a hidden word but “hérissé” I’ve not heard of before so that would have to wait as well. An inauspicious start, anyway, but a start all the same and I didn’t look at for much more than half an hour before calling it an evening.

So, roll on Saturday. The Today Programme on the radio, talking about the 100th Anniversary of Gallipoli, and so thoughts turn towards the Great War and other 1915 anniversaries. Including the death of Rupert Brooke just a day or so previously, whose name adorns a list of the dead Fellows of King’s College, Cambridge, in a small room on the south side of the chapel. His involvement in Gallipoli was not extensive, dying of malaria before even arriving. Perhaps he was the lucky one, and he is buried famously in an olive grove on the Greek island of Skyros: “some corner of a foreign field that is forever England”, in his own words of that famous poem.

A quick look back at the partial grid, with FAUTEUILS (Fau(st) + util[i]se*) at 2dn, and IZARD ((w)izard[r](y)) at 7, and the two unclued entries on the top read “F?????? ?I???”. Foreign field fits in just perfectly, and there’s the theme sussed nice and early. A quick scan of the title suggests “Rupert” the Bear, “Brook” (bear [vb]), + E (bearing East), just to confirm. As a final check, a quick scan of the partially-filled south-west corner of the grid reveals several letters that could spell out “for/eve/ren/gland”, clearly no coincidence.*

An hour later, and a tour through the grid from bottom-left, through to top-right, before finishing in the corner with the tricky-ish DYAD (not D[a]y + ?? but (Day + [e]d)< ), and then it’s off to grab the highlighter to pick out “A RICHER DUST”, along with the more obvious BROOKE running down the middle. All in all you could count 52/169 cells, or just shy of 31% of the grid, as thematically fixed, so another typical Chalicea grid with plenty packed in to a small space.

With no Shirley  blog this week, I suppose it’s up to me to check whether Chalicea has “confirmed her membership of the Listener setters’ oenophile club”. Apparently not, and if anything she’s trying to stop all this drinking nonsense! 4dn “Limit supply of alcoholic drink in desert”; and 31ac “Taproom, before noon, providing no sustenance”. Take note, future setters, as oenophiles will be frowned upon!


Epilogue: A glance back through past war-themed Listeners reveals that I’d predicted this theme about ten months ago. Is this a record for the earliest PDM for a Listener puzzle… ?

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