The One Left Over by Kruger
Posted by shirleycurran on 22 January 2016
Here we are again – the start of another year of Listener puzzles and, with this being a leap year and our having one on the very first day of the year, we will be in for 53 struggles. I download with trepidation, even though I know that the editors tend to give us a couple of relatively gentle puzzles at the start of the year, possibly to encourage those contestants for the Radix trophy. Kruger! We are accustomed to some fairly complex puzzles by Kruger in the IQ series so we wonder.
Of course, I know from those lively and stimulating pre-Listener Setters’ Dinner sessions in nearby hostelries that I don’t need to have any anxieties about Kruger’s continued right to a centre seat in the Tipply Listener Setters Fraternity/Sorority but I check anyway and he quickly confirms his membership: ‘Ends wasted from ethically different alcohol (4)’ gives us MO[W]RA. Not much further down even the ‘Sediment disappears (4)’ (Oh dear, Kruger – drinking the dregs!) giving us [F]LEES, then he moves onto Bourbon or something like that, ‘Drink acceptable in America (4)’ giving us USUA[L]. Cheers Kruger!
By now, we are reassured. These are generous and gentle clues and our grid speedily fills. Almost as speedy is the deciphering of the message that is is appearing. YOU WIN A FEW, YOU LOSE A FEW. However, we have to carefully complete our grid spotting those extra letters in the word play in order to work out what the one Left over is going to be. Could that be a cryptic hint?
Soon we are left with an ‘Actor once taking part of herb gardener (6)’ B[O]GARDE, hidden and that gives us EASL? at 9 down. That must be EASLE the ‘final ashes’ of our Scottish Bard, I believe, and we are looking for a W to make our two sets of letters coincide. Of course, we are in Harry Potter country with the WEASLEYS, Ron’s family, and the final Y is cast, so we have a complete set of letters and a double check tells us that the L is missing from the second set. (Perhaps that is the reason for the unusual 12 by 13 grid – Kruger needed 21 across clues and only 20 down ones.)
We enjoyed our first Listener crossword of the year. Thank you, Kruger.