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The Harmony of Ratios by Ifor

Posted by shirleycurran on 17 February 2017

ifor-harmony-of-ratios-001Imagine my surprise when I scanned Ifor’s clues and found not a single alcohol reference. Do we have to withdraw his access ticket to the Listener Setters’ tippling club. Of course not! What did we find when we had completed our solve? CHAMPERS and probably vast quantities of it as in the NEBUCHADNEZZAR of Atlas’s crossword a couple of weeks ago. Cheers, Ifor.

The title and preamble should have given me far more help that they did. RAT = DESERT I = ISLAND and OS are discs. Typical of Ifor’s very clever setting. And what was the ‘Harmony’ that used to introduce DESERT ISLAND DISCS? It was ERIC COATES ‘BY THE SLEEPY LAGOON – but we were a long way from teasing those letters out of the extra pairs in 27 clues. Of course I gave myself a hearty kick when I realized that we are celebrating a 75th anniversary of the very first broadcast of the programme since Roy Plomley presented it before I was even born on 29th January, 1942.

Of course, just counting clue lengths told us which solutions were going to have a ‘thematic item’ removed from them. We are not very knowledgeable about varieties of modern music so some of those extracted words were quite a surprise. We found LAY, RAP, RAG, CATCH, ARIA, PORT, MENTO and OAT. I wonder which celebrity opted for that lot (David Beckham, maybe?) We were mildly puzzled by SCABBARD (B BAR in SCAD) but then remembered that the castaway is allowed to take his Shakespeare with him, so we entered SCAB.

2ac had us puzzled too. The clue seemed to give us TOTIENTS but four letters had to come out. Then we remembered that the castaway has his Bible so this was the clue where the thematic item was in two parts OT and NT leaving TIES.

The grid was nearing completion when we saw that fine clue ‘One who supports boxer, maybe (6)’ that gave us B/PACKER and produced not only the CHAMPERS but also what every solver needs: CHAMBERS. We hadn’t found it easy to solve this crossword, but that solution really produced a smile.

A moment of hesitation. ROY PLOMLEY was the originator of DESERT ISLAND DISCS and his name (forename and surname) add up to 10 letters but, after a moment of hesitation, we opted for the creator of The Harmony, ERIC COATES. Nice one, Ifor. Many thanks.

And the elusive HARE? He’s kind of stewed up this week in clues 14, 17 and 18: I imagine his days will be numbered if he turns up on a desert island. He’ll be castaway stew.

Castaway Stew

Castaway Stew

 

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