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Listener No 4456: Shady Characters by Malva

Posted by Dave Hennings on 14 July 2017

This was Malva’s second Listener, the first being of an avian theme. However, he’s a sneaky blighter since he used to be Dipper, whose garden featured in his crosswords under that pseudonym. It has to be said that I am not an expert on flora or fauna, so fingers were crossed on this one.

As it turned out, filling the grid was straightforward. The extra wordplay letters led to distinct jumbles of words which indicated how some answers needed to be entered. Those in clues 2–7 were llyeow and were followed by bule. It looked as though we were dealing with colours. The full set was Yellow, Blue, Tan, Sand, Butter, Green, Red, Ruby.

Some of them were hardly colours of the rainbow, but that helped with the endgame. Examining the entries in the grid, and remembering Malva’s new hobbyhorse, SHANK, PIPER and TIT stood out like a sore thumb and were obviously to be prefixed by one of the ‘colours’. SHANK could have either RED or GREEN as its colour, but START could only be RED (I think).

So out came the coloured crayons which haven’t seen the light of day for some time. (I now do highlighting in Paint before printing the grid for my entry.) Although, butter, sand and yellow are pretty much the same in my book, I still tried to make them slightly different. [I think you failed. Ed.] I know JEG is fairly lenient when it comes to that sort of thing. I did wonder whether highlighting the cells in each word, with letters the same as elsewhere in the grid would be allowed. Probably… but I didn’t want to risk it.

The birds were, in grid order:

TANAGER
GREENSHANK
YELLOWHAMMER
RUBYTHROAT
SANDPIPER
BUTTER-BUMP
REDSTART
BLUETIT

That just left the first and last letters of the extra words in the remaining clues: PropagandA, CompatiblE, HollywooD, AttacK, OmnivorE, No-onE, PondeR, LasheD, RenaissancE. These could be rearranged into two 9-letter words to give a bird that needed to be entered below the grid thematically in only 15 letters.

Well, it didn’t take long to realise that the colour had to be three letters, and I soon had the PEA-DARKEN ELDERCHOP. Except that wasn’t in Chambers! Perhaps the ALE-DARNED HOP-PECKER. Nope! [Tim will undoubtedly have some others. Ed.] In the end, it was the RED-NECKED PHALAROPE who got slotted in.

Thanks for more avian shenanigans, Malva.
 

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2 Responses to “Listener No 4456: Shady Characters by Malva”

  1. shirleycurran said

    Are you suggesting that my ALE- ‘Darned hot pecker’ was not correct. Damn!

  2. Encota said

    Or perhaps it described the reverence demanded by the esteemed Listener editors: [“Approach. Kneel.” Ed.]

    Or how Scouts and Guides make excuses for their absence: “Phone pack leader”.

    Ho hum…

    -Encota-

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