Listen With Others

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Whoppers by Nutmeg

Posted by shirleycurran on 26 May 2017

We always enjoy solving Nutmeg’s crosswords, so downloaded this one with a smile. That smile became a little strained when we read that some answers had to have ‘something’ added before entry in the grid, and that the remaining clues contained an extra letter  that had to be removed before solving. We mused for a while about what the whoppers were going to be and opted for the obvious LIARS, suspecting that we might be looking for something of Nutmeg’s style like her lovely ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’, or a puzzle where ‘the more Pooh looked the more Piglet wasn’t there’. There’s a Hilaire Belloc poem about Matilda who told lies and was finally burned but it isn’t ‘short’. Nothing to do but solve.

Ah, yes, of course I had to confirm Nutmeg’s continued membership of the Elite Listener Setters’ Tippling set-up and of course she qualified with ‘Madeira’s base Catholic cu[l]ts in a row (7)’. The clue gave us SERCIAL (C in SERIAL) but we needed the Big Red Book to tell us that sercial is a Riesling-like grape used to make the driest Madeira. Barmen appeared later on when we had started filling our grid with fish and the clue ‘Troops initially withheld assent (6)’ gave us (A)MEN to which we added the BAR. Membership confirmed. Cheers, Nutmeg!

Solving went very slowly at first. As always, we found the clues beautifully set and smiled at a few. ‘It might have been pure b[l]ack antelope on eland’s tail (4)’ gave us another word that needed the BRB to tell us that ‘pure’ could be DUNG, so a GNU was reversed on the tail of the elanD. Nice! We were beginning to make sense of the extra letters and had confirmed that the penultimate word of our short verse was LIARS when that lovely H coming out of ‘W[h]inged gave us FLEW (with a homophone for ‘flu’) and gave us enough letters to realize that FISHERMEN were our liars. ARE FISHERMEN ALL LIARS OR DO ONLY LIARS FISH? Now that we knew that FISH was the missing final word, our grid fill speeded up enormously. We understood why a clue that led to PORTAL was entered as PORTRAYAL and PIKESTAFF had to complete the clue that led to STAFF (Singular river workers = S TAFF).

Upset hare

We almost worked backwards since CHAR, COD, ID and LING were sure to be there, and, of course, they were, together with TUNA in FORTUNATE, GAR in GARRETS, EEL in FREELANCE, PARR in SPARROW and ROACH in BROACHED. Great fun, thank you, Nutmeg!

What on earth, or rather what at sea was a poor jumbled little HARE doing in all that watery stuff! Of course, he was there, but somewhat upset by all the fishy business, down in the right hand bottom corner.

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