Listen With Others

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‘G & S’ by Pilcrow

Posted by Encota on 13 Jan 2017

A classic Listener!  Almost in the ‘elaborate hoax’ category, many of the clues were heavily based on Gilbert & Sullivan’s works.  With a title like ‘G & S’ it’s simply about them and theirs, isn’t it?

Umm…no.  Or, to put it another way, do be serious.  This is The Listener, after all!  [If you aim to be that straightforward in crossword-land you’ll be telling me that ‘Supply pants (7,10)‘ is an M&S order next 😉 ]

The reason I’d label this one a classic is what feel to me like two ‘right-angle turns’ along the solution path.  You know the sort, you think you are heading in one direction, only to find the path turns a right-angle and you are heading somewhere entirely different.  And then it happens all over again…

So the G&S-based clues led to entries that fitted in surprisingly straightforwardly.  Having cold-solved (ok, with a hint towards the first letter) around two-thirds of the clues, my starting point was the two six-letter words sharing a first letter in what turned out to be 23a and 23d.  There were at most three possible pairs, given what I hadn’t at that time solved, so I picked the pair of WIDGET and WOMBAT and placed the appropriate 3-letter word (ACE) in place to fit with them.  From then on entries started sliding into place quite quickly.  However, I soon then got to the stage where the only word that could fit in at 4d was SILENCE but it wasn’t in the Answers….

It was a simple leap from there to realising the that the four-word Song included would be THE SOUND OF SILENCE by Simon & Garfunkel – another G&S, of sorts – what a sweet Title!  As soon as the missing letters started spelling out JOH… I guessed the rest (it was JOHN CAGE’S FOUR MINUTES THIRTY THREE SECONDS) and all that was left was to find the other phrase…

This one spelt out ERASE EVERYTHING BUT THE NOTES IN CAGE’S PIECE (my apostrophe).  4:33 famously contains no notes, so that appears to say ERASE EVERYTHING.  So the only decision left for me was how to interpret ‘everything’:

  1.  I was planning to leave my Name & Address on my entry, so they are staying!
  2. Clearly all Letters should be erased;
  3. There is no Enumeration in the original grid so clearly there should be none in the Solution;
  4. What about the Bars?  I decided that must be an optional delete – I don’t think The Listener is sponsored by Tippex, so I’d be surprised if we are being forced to remove all bars & gridlines, though I suspect it cannot be marked wrong either.  Hope I’m right.
  5. I think the outside square of the grid must remain, otherwise it might be hard to claim you’d not forgotten to send in your puzzle entry, as per the Preamble.

With 4:33 featuring I think there might have been some choices of relevant puzzle number – but I don’t think that has happened here(?)

Cheers all!

Tim / Encota

PS Great to see 2017’s must-have Xmas present already featuring in Column 1 – the STRESS WOMBAT.  (Potentially available in all good stores).

One Response to “‘G & S’ by Pilcrow”

  1. Piers Ruff said

    Dear Tim,

    Thanks, Tim, for your encouraging comments on “G&S”, both here and those passed on to me by John Green.

    I’m not aware of any other solver who resorted to Tippex. One solver went even further, sending a note with the following week’s puzzle to the effect that — in keeping with the theme — he had deliberately not submitted an entry for “G&S”!

    Best wishes,

    Piers Ruff

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