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Shut That Door by Bandmaster

Posted by shirleycurran on 23 Dec 2016

shut-that-door-by-bandmaster-001The title coupled with the date should have suggested this theme to us immediately but we were too busy gasping at the number of clues and the carte blanche grid to give it a thought and the p.d.m. came much, much later (not, in fact, until we had spotted that De Quincey and Peter Quince were two of our solutions – and which twisted parent puts a quince behind one of the doors of the Advent calendar – I ask you!) I remember that Bandmaster was the winner of the Ascot Gold Cup for the best Listener crossword of the year not too long ago (but was absent for the presentation, perhaps modestly not expecting that honour, so that Enigmatist accepted the trophy on his behalf). So this crossword is likely to be a stunner.

Fortunately these were pretty generous clues. While I was scanning to confirm Bandmaster’s festive right to his ticket of entry to the Listener Setters’ drinking jollies (he’d better be there next year!) the other Numpty solved a dozen of them. Did Bandmaster earn his admission? Of course! ‘Mineral with vermouth imbibed by empress (11)’ gave ‘it’ in Josephine – JOSEPHINITE. Shortly afterwards Bandmaster was ‘Caught with alcohol? I’ll get beaten (9, two words)’ snared + rum = SNARE DRUM. (My favourite clue was the one that intersected with this one in the Advent calendar, ‘National champion crows preposterously (6, two words)’ producing murder< = RED RUM – what a beautiful reverse clue). Sadly, it was a drum that appeared behind that door, not a measure of rum!

Mixing the vermouth and rum,  the next alcoholic clue was not surprising,  ‘Torch (quarter missing) lit with alcohol (6)’  FLAMBE. Then we had ‘Drink found around eastern frontiers chiefly (5)’ where kir went round E F(rontiers) introducing a new drink to me KEFIR – bubbly eastern stuff. Indeed Bandmaster was mixing things with ‘Glutton consuming a measure, I swear (8)’ By God around ell, giving BELLYGOD. By the time we got to opening door 23, I was expecting at least WINE, if not a measure of WHISKY and was rather disappointed to find just a Christmas WREATH. Cheers, anyway, Bandmaster!

The elusive golden hare

The elusive golden hare

That door H was rather disappointing too. I was convinced that the editors must have sneaked a golden HARE under that No 8 door and I am sure that is what Dave and Tim will have expected but it was not to be – just a sprig of prickly HOLLY. But joking apart, when we had realized that those extra letters were spelling ADVENT CALENDAR NOT OPENED and begun to spot the items that appeared in across and down solutions and could be entered as the relevant numbers, my admiration for Bandmaster’s compilation was enormous.  It was no mean feat to construct a grid with 23 items converted to digits, each incorporated twice within the clues.

Of course, once we had understood how to enter the 40 or so clues we had cold-solved, the grid fill became a pleasure as the symmetry rendered the completion of the lower half less of a struggle than it might have been otherwise. We are rather addicted to symmetry, aren’t we, and, indeed, without it, this would have been a nightmare as some of those items in the lower half of the grid were unexpected – the ARECA NUT, BOX BED, KEFIR and SEA ROBIN, for example.

What else did we find in this rather mish-mash of Advent items? ANGEL, BELL, CANDLE, ELF, FIR, GOLD, IVY, JOSEPH, KING, LAMB, MAGI, NUT, OX, PRESENT, ROBIN, STAR, TREE, URN, VIRGIN and of course XMAS behind door 24. What a lovely compilation. Thank you, Bandmaster.

2 Responses to “Shut That Door by Bandmaster”

  1. Encota said

    Not X=24 marks the spot but 8=H. I should have known!

  2. buddhist afterlife said

    This page makes me think of the other page here I found

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