Listen With Others

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One-man Band by Emu

Posted by shirleycurran on 18 March 2016

Hangman 002There is nothing too troubling in Emu’s preamble but we clearly have to fill the grid and spot that ‘interleaved’ line of poetry before it is going to mean very much to us.

Naturally I check that Emu has earned his place as a Listener oenophile and he doesn’t disappoint, in fact he almost exceeds the limit. He begins with ‘If turned away after closing time, a Scotsman produces a flask (6)’ (IF< + A SCOT [C]losing T[ime] giving FIASCO). Then we find ‘[M]orally turned the wrong way for whisky (3)’ (“Wry” heard giving RYE). Not satisfied with all that whisky we find ‘Not much to drink – one of Will’s cron[I]es has run out (3)’ (TROT less R[un] giving TOT).

The down clues continue the drinking – ‘Spirits perish in albatross sho[O]t (12, two words)’ (ALBATROSS* + DIES = ASTRAL BODIES) then ‘Doctor’s other half is pocketing a five[R] in the Bull (6)’ – A difficult clue that one HYDE [i]S(Jekyll’s other half) takes in A, giving ‘five in the Bull, which Wikipedia tells us is a constellation where the HYADES are five stars. I am not really surprised when clue 31 tells us ‘Tipsy old b[O]y I guided by the hand (5)’ (O + I + LED – indeed, Emu must have been pretty well OILED after all that tippling. Cheers, see you in the bar at Windsor, Emu!)

A lovely set of clues and our grid fills steadily until, with a few hiccups, we have a rather strange set of extra letters to decipher. It puzzles us for a while before we see words that we can feed into Wikipedia AND SIMPLE FAITH ….. BLOOD and, as usual, Wiki comes up trumps with a Tennyson poem I have never encountered before (and I am not really surprised – it is a rather vicious attack on the lady isn’t it, and not really her fault if she is of noble birth)

Trust me, Clara Vere de Vere,
  From yon blue heavens above us bent,         50
The gardener Adam and his wife
  Smile at the claims of long descent.
Howe’er it be, it seems to me,
  ’Tis only noble to be good.
Kind hearts are more than coronets,         55
  And simple faith than Norman blood.

Of course, line 55 is the prompt we need and we have to go back to Wiki to see who were the characters who had to be eliminated in Kind Hearts and Coronets. What a story! I find, of course, d’ASCOYNE, HENRY, the BANKER, LADY AGATHA, the ADMiral, the REVerend, the DUKE and  the GENERAL and drawing lines through all of those produces the game we used to play at school in those silly hours before the holidays – Hangman. Yes, I originally highlighted the first ADM(iral) I encountered and that produced a convincingly counterbalanced scaffold but I remember that the diagonal strut was part of the game and switch to that.

One thing left to do. Interleaved with that quotation were the words CIRCLE ONE VOWEL. I have a rather wonky Mazzini on the gallows with warped legs and the only convincing vowel to circle is that A, which provides him with an extremely small head but sobeit.  Thank you for the entertainment, Emu.

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