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Listener No 4421: Post-it Note by Tramp

Posted by Dave Hennings on 11 November 2016

I was sure that I’d come across Tramp as a setter before, but Dave Hennings’s excellent (😄) Crossword Database didn’t mention him. I eventually found him lurking on fifteensquared as a setter with a fairly regular monthly puzzle in the Guardian.

listener-4421Here we had 22 squares which were omitted from the wordplay in their respective clues, and six others with an extra word which had one letter in common with their entry. A bit of line-drawing and highlighting would be requried in the endgame.

1ac Cuts for late study? Come on, try working (9) was an obvious anagram, and necro-something seemed likely. NECROTOMY soon got slotted in, followed by EXHORTED, CLAD and MELEE, the last having an E excluded from its wordplay; I decided to circle these letters in my grid. Next came 13ac CHATTER, but the rest of the top left quadrant remained unsolved.

I then concentrated on the top right. 8dn Welsh girl happy with men (6) looked like it could be GLADYS, but the YS made no sense. 12ac ELAPSE enabled me to home in on GAYNOR (with a circled N). GAIR, ISAAC and RENNETS came next, but again a lot of that corner remained blank.

This was hardly surprising because extra words and more than one missing wordplay letter in some clues all made for a slowish grid-fill.

However, I worked my way down to the bottom right corner courtesy of EASEMENT, PO[S]T-WAR, PAR[L]E and GYROSTATS and on to the bottom left. After about 90 minutes, the grid was coming along nicely, and my circled letters were beginning to help. I spotted SEX near the middle of the grid — don’t be childish! — and I managed to trace out (most of) SEXUAL INTERCOURSE — stop it! — following it. BE•AN completed the shape of 63, and a bell rang at the back of my mind. Unfortunately, it refused to come to the front.

Meanwhile, the extra words in clues only gave me KRA in the downs (and had to be read in reverse), partly because I had overlooked circling some of the extra words. St Mark seemed a possibility were it not for the sex! Reviewing the downs, and children enabled L to appear. Philip LARKIN was finally revealed, a far more likely candidate for a risqué poem:

Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(Which was rather late for me) —
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles’ first LP.

We are often treated to Penny Drop Moments in Listener puzzles. Here I had a Big Grin Moment when I saw CHATTERLEY BAN and PLEASE TWICE ME in rows 3 and 10!

There were some good clues here. Tricky (for me) wordplay included the clues at 12ac Starts to envisage stop — light turns — go (6) (E S PALE rev) and 1dn Marble run: can adult [keep] going first? (6) (R with NICK A going first). (I remember a time when most Listener preambles ended with “Punctuation should be ignored.”)

I particularly liked the surface reading for 24dn British and American [children] going up to bed for a bit of a story (7) for SUBPLOT. BGM clue goes to 28ac Initially drew, won, lost, lost — what did “won” mean? (5) for DW[E]LL, won being an archaic word for ‘dwell’.

My close shave for a wrong entry was at 44ac End cycling for kids, say (4) where I had initially pencilled in TUPS, even though STUP wasn’t a word. Chambers gives kid3 as a small tub, with STUB being the end of a cigarette.

listener-4421-my-entryAll that remained was to draw 63 in a continuous line through the appropriate letters in the middle of the grid. Not for the first time recently, this proved a bit tricky, mainly because it was somewhat top-heavy with the upper half of the 3 especially being bigger than the lower. I got there in the end after a couple of failed attempts.

Thanks for a thoroughly entertaining puzzle, Tramp. Amusing title too.

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