Battleships by Paddock
Posted by shirleycurran on 6 January 2017
A new name with a title that immediately raises a smile (his pseudonym does too – that’s the name of the toad, the witch’s familiar, in Macbeth isn’t it? I was acting the second witch with her “Paddock calls, anon, anon” at just about the same time as we were habitually surreptitiously playing battleships when we should have been completing Latin exercises during ‘prep’). So Mr, or Ms Toad, what have we here?
Well, there’s no doubt that this new setter qualifies for the long night of tippling at the annual setters’ dinner as the clues are overflowing with alcohol. We start with ‘Subsequently getting still on board – kit necessary for an expected tot (7)’ (LATER around YET giving LAYETTE). Not content with the entire still, he/she is into port some clues later. ‘Wind isn’t blowing Australia to port (7) (AINT getting rid of A[ustralia] + PORT = INTWINE).
It’s rum next! ‘Sailor’s spirit ebbs, breaking while shut in the hulks? (6)’ (That’s RUM< in [T]IME giving IMMURE)
He subsequently discards the coaster so I imagine he’s into the pub now (I’m assuming Paddock is a he as it is statistically likely – we active lady setters of the Listener make up about two per cent of the total, I believe – a disturbing fact!). ‘Persuasive man on board stops sailor surrendering coaster (8)’. ELOQUENT fitted the grid that was steadily being filled but it was a while before we understood the wordplay and sorted out that extra letter. (mat)ELOT surrounded QUE[E]N). Yes, I suppose the Queen does count as a chessman but I’ll be defending women’s rights any minute now! Indeed, though, what a clever clue. Clearly we are not accustomed to Paddock’s setting style and we found a number of his clues tough but clever too.
Dare I admit, however, that we groaned about the next boozy clue. ‘Recuperating man disheartened by what grog and womanising do (7)’. We’ve encountered that clue, or a variety of it before. They END IN G don’t they – well with all that grog there’s likely to be some gloom or giddiness. But Paddock hadn’t finished, ostensibly turning TT but bringing in the RED. ‘In staying away from the drink, rear admiral had wavered (8)’ giving TEETEE’D around R[A] = TEETERED. No wonder he was ‘Straining to dispose of starter on ship? (8)’ S[T]RETCHING – a nicely &lit. clue using the ‘straining’ senses of STRETCHING and RETCHING.
The grid was full and it was clear from the preamble what we had to do but we, as usual, were challenged by the extra letters and still had a couple missing, rendering the final task daunting. As we teased out the E from the ELOQUENT and the A from the TEETERED clues (we had originally opted for an E) we saw with horror that those five groups of letters all yielded strings of anagrams:
TEURSC gave CRUETS, CRUSET, CURETS, CUSTER, ERUCTS (the most likely in view of all that alcohol!) and RECTUS
TCRENE gave TENREC, CENTER, RECENT and CENTRE
TEREN gave TREEN, RENTE, ENTER AND TERNE
TATLEB gave TABLET and BATTEL or BATTLE (obviously a good candidate for the battleship)
Then even worse, NSREI gave six anagrams, REINS, RESIN, RINSE, SERIN, SIREN and RISEN.
I was daunted and on the point of putting off the endgame till Saturday morning when a lucky dabble placed CRUETS. I suppose it was the obvious adaptation of ‘WORDAGE’ to ‘CORDAGE’ that gave the hint. The rest was plain sailing (or sinking) and I breathed a sigh of relief when the appropriate number of submarines ‘surfaced’. (Yes, and I did spot the elusive HARE in four cells that could be joined by a straight line. The other Numpty commented this week that Turner obviously knew what we were looking for in that famous painting of the hare racing along in front of the train.)
Welcome and thanks Paddock.