Listen With Others

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Display by Aedites

Posted by shirleycurran on 19 Feb 2016

Display by Aedites 001A short preamble and just forty clues – nothing too worrying there. It is a clever compiler who manages to satisfactorily conceal a misprint in every clue, though, of course Aedites has included them in any part of his clue and not just in the definition part, which gives him a little more latitude. Still, it is a device that is often tougher for the setter than for the solver, as the late Mr Leonard told me some years ago.

There were a couple of clunky misprints that immediately jumped out at us; ‘Newts for some cruves (4)’ must be ASKS and ‘cruves’ will have to be ‘craves’, and ‘… old peony involved in interbreeding’ gave an obvious ‘old penny’, but, on the whole, there were some convincing surface readings here.

Of course, I scan Aedites’ clues to confirm that he qualifies for the Listener setters’ tipsy gang. No problem. First I find ‘Narcotic drink added to tart in Indian cookery (4)’ producing an E misprint and giving T + AVA. Then there’s ‘Taste of gin in juniper log (5)’ This gives CADE round G(in)CADGE =  and we work out that log has to give us an I corrected misprint since Chambers tells us that to LIG is to be a scrounger or freeloader. Aedites hasn’t finished with the alcohol; his final clue reads ‘Manhattan shooter from blender bar (3)’ By the time we put ROD in for this solution, we have spotted that the message spelled out by the misprints is NICKNAMES ARE TO BE REPLACED BY AMERICAN STATES so that an S is needed as the corrected letter  and this must be a Slender bar or a ROD.

We had solved for heading for two hours when this penny dropped and suddenly suggested to us why we had been unable to fit words like VOLUNTEER, SILVER, GEM, BEAVER, TREASURE and EVERGREEN into our grid.

There seemed to be some ambiguity in the preamble. We had decided that the solution to 12ac was FIRST; ‘Beginning to tire after more than one tree (5)’ FIRS + T(ire) but we realized that we were to enter DELAWARE, the ‘First State’. That has eight letters and the light had eight cells. However, the preamble told us that ‘numbers in brackets are entry lengths’. Surely a slip? No matter; I shouldn’t imagine it will hold any solver up for long.

Solving raced ahead as US states filled the empty cells and we back-solved to find out what their nicknames were; we had visited Nevada’s Virginia City last year and had no problem working out that SILVER was the Nevada state nickname but TENNESSEE, VOLUNTEER state? WASHINGTON EVERGREEN state? That is one plus of the Listener crossword; we learn something most weeks.

We hadn’t quite finished. There was a ninth thematic word to find and that clearly had to be a state. A grid stare followed but fortunately not too long as the title gave us a hint and SHOW ME state had appeared in the Wikipedia list: MISSOURI. Most enjoyable. Thank you Aedites.

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