Listener No. 4392: A Conversation by KevGar
Posted by Dave Hennings on 22 April 2016
KevGar’s previous puzzle, no. 4353 Ghost Story had us tracing out the letters of “Timeo danaos et dona ferentes” in the shape of a chess knight. As I wrote at the end of my blog, “A pretty easy puzzle but good fun.” It had nice, straightforward clues like Adult swallowed up by hard drug — cry of dismay (3) for HAH… which the annual stats obligingly informed me that I’d carelessly entered as HUH. Shameful!!
This week, “Clashes in several cells must be resolved to show items that relate to a particular conversation.” I put on my clash-proof hat and started solving. A dozen across entries later and I was feeling smug. Sadly, 1ac wasn’t one of them, but 8, 12, 13 and 19 were, all near the top. I proceeded to solve nearly as many down clues, including OYSTER-CATCHER in the middle.
An enjoyable ninety minutes of solving followed, some time being spent on trying to see why Rare snakes close together, shut up inside (9) led to CARPENTER. It didn’t take to long to see that 12ac could be WALRUS, and we were in Lewis Carroll territory again with one of my favourite bits of nonsense from Through the Looking-Glass.
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether pigs have wings.”
11dn was obviously the SEALING WAX, but it took me a bit of time to suss the true result of Old city pollution enveloping lake, almost rank (10). It was nothing to do with ‘smog’, but STALINGRAD (L in STAIN + GRAD[E]). And the CARPENTER had started out life as SERPENTRY (PENT in SERRY).
All that was left was to highlight the unfortunate OYSTER, “And this was scarcely odd, because They’d eaten every one.”
So finished a nicely constructed theme. As I said last time, “A pretty easy puzzle but good fun.” Thanks, KevGar. I’ll be checking my solution this week rather than waiting to be surprised by the annual stats!