Listen With Others

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Listener No 4456, Shady Characters: A Setter’s Blog by Malva

Posted by Listen With Others on 16 Jul 2017

To be honest, the idea for doing a crossword came from my next door neighbour. He’d been setting them for ages, under the name of Dripper, or something like that. I only got to know about it a couple of years ago when he fell into his compost heap. Luckily, I heard his cries for help and after I’d dug him out and removed most of the worms from his hair, he told me about his crosswords. I’m not sure why. He could have been delirious. Anyway, he invited me in for a cup of tea and a chocolate brownie his other half had made (it was stonkingly good) and then he showed me one of his crosswords. I have to admit, I couldn’t make head or tail of it at first, and even after he explained they were all about gardening and that one of the answers was a tree I’d never heard of, I still made some excuse about having to hose my soffits and left.

But, as he would have said, the seed had been sown and over the next few months, I tried to do the Listener crossword every week. I slowly became more adept at it and eventually I could solve at least seven or eight clues in every crossword (apart from the maths ones) and I knew loads of completely unnecessary words like esne and learned that Spencer couldn’t spelle to saive his lyphe.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I decided to have a go at a crossword of my own, which only took about four months to complete – compared to the 30 minutes it took most solvers to complete. Shady Characters went a lot more smoothly, mainly because Roger rewrote about 80% of the clues for one reason or another and being a stickler for detail, he also rejected my inclusion of the lilac crested baldicoot on the grounds that no-one would have a lilac crayon and it might offend the follically challenged solvers as well.

After publication, there were two further delights to enjoy. Firstly, I got paid for it and secondly, John sent me a selection of comments from solvers. Most of them were quite complimentary and one guy was particularly chuffed (or choughed) (or chiffchuffed) because he’d had a red-necked phalarope and celeriac mash in a Reykjavik restaurant the day before the crossword appeared.

So now all I’ve got to do is come up with another idea.

Um … er … ah …. how about … um ….

One Response to “Listener No 4456, Shady Characters: A Setter’s Blog by Malva”

  1. Encota said

    Love it! Thanks Malva 🙂

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