Ego-trips by Llig
Posted by shirleycurran on 23 October 2015
We immediately notice that blocked off cell in the centre of the grid and the preamble tells us that it is to be used ‘possibly’ to provide the answer to a question that will appear in those extra letters – that gimmick again! We draw our highlighted line along the side of all those clues (for those letters) and I scan the clues to check that Llig hasn’t retired from the Listener setters’ oenophile society.
No need to read very far. In the very first clue, he is in ‘Manuel’s Bar‘ ‘A lot of money brought in by “faulty” soap. Manuels Bar (6)’ (SOAP* surrounding [W]AD gives POSADA). Alcohol must be flowing in the posada, as we find ‘Higher alcohol playing role that dogs drunkard (6)’ (S[O]T ROLE*) and ‘Gym with informal drink to follow day’s march in Bordeaux (5)’ ([P]E + TAPE]). Shortly afterwards, the ‘Party gathers to consume stale bread (6)’ (S[E]CT around EAT = SCEATT) and ‘Noisy reveller wrecked storey – engineers going up twice (9)’ (STOREY* + RE R[E]< + ROYSTERER).
This is proving to be a very boozy crossword as mixed drinks follow. ‘Secretive type upset a bit of lager in brandy (4)’ (MAR[C]< round L(ager) giving CLAM) – and with those solutions in place we are speedily filling the grid.
There’s a generous splashing of anagrams and we are maybe lucky in that we almost immediately spot that the clue to REALITY ‘Truth literally lost without Low Latin (7)’ is leading to a six letter word (LITERALLY less LL* = REALTY) though the given word-count is (7). Of course, we put the I in the centre cell, and that is confirmed when 25ac leads to MARRIED/MARRED, 5dn leads to GENTILE/GENTLE, and the fourth clue, completing the set of ‘four normally clued answers’ gives us SIERRAN/SERRAN.
In the meantime, we have found most of the question produced by the extra letters and a quick Google hunt completes the question and its source, WHITHER SHALL I GO THEN FROM THY PRESENCE? PRAYER BOOK.
Our grid is full and four ‘I’s have moved. Is that it? I wonder, but then realize that those were the only letter ‘I’s in Llig’s grid, and, indeed he needed to remove them from the relative words to create a kind of unity. One could probably solve the entire crossword without spotting the lack of the letter I, so, in a way, Llig has created a task that is tougher on the setter than the solver.
Thank you Llig for a relatively gentle and enjoyable solve. It left us time to enjoy a beautiful autumn evening.