Edit by Jago
Posted by shirleycurran on 16 September 2016
We were at Riederfurka in the Swiss Upper Valais. It does have WiFi (though the rich aristocrats the banker Sir Ernest Cassel and his distinguished guests who summered up there above 2000 metres at the Villa Cassel would probably never have envisaged such a thing) but the little Riederfurka mountain hotel has no printer, so I was obliged to download the Friday Listener on my iPhone and reconstruct the grid with paper and pencil.
What would we have done if last week’s Nod numerical had reached us in that way? Abandoned all hope, I think. What a relief it was to see ‘Edit by Jago’ above that 12 X 12 grid. With no disrespect to Jago, who always provides us with an entertaining couple of hours, his are the crosswords that probably encourage newer solvers to persist; a crossword that we could attack with pencil and paper. Here’s my proof – our grid with almost all the clues cold-solved as we sat on the bales of straw covered with sheepskins enjoying the apéritifs and overlooking the sadly receding Aletsch Glacier.
Did I say apéritifs? Of course I didn’t need to confirm Jago’s membership of the Listener Setters’ Drinkie Outfit as it is Jago and Jan who, ever year, devote so much time and energy to organising the Listener Setters’ Dinner. However, a check was in order and, as the other Numpty happily solved, I scanned the clues, finding ‘Ornamental holder of container with pie cooked inside (6)’ TIN round PIE* giving us TIE PIN. From the pie, Jago moved on to a Japanese tea ceremony or tea party (5)’ CHA + DO and was clearly fancying his G & T, ‘Wanting nothing but pleasure, naughtily hides tonic (10)’ HIDES TONIC* = HEDONISTIC. Hmm; things were looking worrying.
However, all was well. 1d gave us ‘We burp drunkenly, emptying beers in places where they’re very local (8)’ WE BURP + B[eer]S* giving BREWPUBS – so we had a drunken, burping four-O-clock finish (as usual – Cheers Jago!)
This was a fine set of clues but they were not difficult and we soon had enough to attempt a tentative grid fill. Of course, the word lengths of the lights had prompted us that something was going to be omitted from each solution, and we had been told that there was a ‘deficiency’ (my italics) associated with each of the four quadrants. It was fun to fill the grid with the letters that intersected from the different solutions and fairly straightforward to establish that we were omitting the Bs from the first quadrant, the Is from the second, the Ds from the third and the Cs from the fourth.
I was slightly nonplussed when the unclued light (which was to be entered normally) seemed to produce GOITRE. Isn’t that indicative of a deficiency of Iodine? Aaah! The penny dropped with a clang. So we were entering BERI BERI in the first quadrant (vitamin B deficiency) RICKETS where the vitamin D was deficient and SCURVY, of course, where the vitamin C was lacking. (Weren’t we taught at school that Captain James Cook was the genius who insisted that his crew consumed lemons and limes to cope with that blight caused by vitamin C deficiency?). This was a beautiful, consistent piece of setting – thoroughly enjoyable. Many thanks to Jago.