Listen With Others

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‘A Sign of the Times’ by Schadenfreude

Posted by Encota on 27 Jan 2017


[Image courtesy of The Times.]

Welcome to another year of Listener solving!

Like several of you, I suspect, I’ve now solved three by Schadenfreude in relatively quick succession.  Firstly the one in the CAM magazine in December, which seemed to go OK.  Then I was making progress with his creation in the January edition of The Magpie but had got a bit stuck, so was anticipating a ‘change’ with the weekend’s Listener arriving.  I open the paper.  Ah.  ‘A Sign of the Times’ by Schadenfreude, it reads.   Hmm. Perhaps I’ll learn something from this one that helps me solve the Magpie one (and yes, it did!).

One of the things I love about S’s puzzles are his ruthless (I think that’s the appropriate word!) use of 3-letter words, 2-letter words &  abbreviations from the BRB.  For example, what with ODA (room in a harem), MIR (peasant farmers), TUI (NZ birds), PI (Greek), SD (Swaziland), PES (foot), MOR (Norfolk girl) and ENS (being) featuring in the Across clues alone, for a novice like me these can be tough!

On to the Theme.  There were 28 single letters to find in 28 out of the 48 clues.  And I spent ages finding the 28th.  Eventually it spelt out BOTH LITERAL PARTS OF COAT OF ARMS.  Combined with the Title (I particularly liked its use of Capitalisation 🙂  ), it was clear that the Theme was entirely based on The Times banner-head above.

I thought it a particularly nice touch that the words lined up very closely with their positions above.  I did also wonder if it was also being treated as a number ‘2’ clued by the first word ‘BOTH’?   Perhaps I am stretching it slightly…

I really enjoyed this puzzle – thanks Schadenfreude!  Tough clueing in places but all very accurate.

Finally, am I the only person who finds solving clues without knowing how long the answers are going to be really hard?  Perhaps it’s just me.

Tim / Encota




One Response to “‘A Sign of the Times’ by Schadenfreude”

  1. shirleycurran said

    No, not just you, Tim. We are always really stymied by clues where the word length is not given and we tend to say ‘What is the point?’ and feel that the setter is being really hard on the solver.

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