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The Evolution of East Perry by The Ace of Hearts

Posted by shirleycurran on 1 Sep 2017

First comment from the other Numpty, “What does East Perry anagram to? Spare tyre? Oh surely we are not having another comment on male physique after Serpent’s jibes about balding oldies! Well, maybe that’s this week’s theme.” And in a way it was. I was already grumbling as this week’s hare (even though there were at least three jumbled ones in the final grid) was not even in the preamble or clues but clearly frolicking there in a bit of a jumble in the setter’s pseudonym, The Ace of HARE*[ts]. Now that’s going a bit far. We’ve still had only a couple of hares decently appearing in four letters in a straight line and one of those was run over by the HS2.

The Ace of Hare*ts

The Ace of Hearts seems to be a new Listener setter so can he be admitted to the drinkie club? Clue 3 was hopeful, ‘From fruitful presses smoots produce Greek letter by hard work’. We opted for NU + TOIL for that, changing the rather obvious sMoots to sHoots, and had to enter it as a jumble. OPIATE came next, ‘Taking leaders aback, each time an ignorant preacher orates is provoking sleep’ We exchanged sHeep for sLeep and took the reversed initial letters. There wasn’t much good drinking here even if ‘Flattering dry fruit remains vital’, where we decided that the fruit had to be flUttering and was composed of ASH and KEY. Ah well, cheers anyway, The Ace of Hearts – or ‘Santé’ if we see you at the bar in Paris.

With that rather generous title, we were soon solving clues with no definition and inserting various types of carriage. TELEGA and BERLIN came first quickly followed by POCHAY, SURREY and DROSKY with HERDIC taking a little longer. Mrs Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary is such a great help in situations like this as there are not a lot of six-letter carriages. Of course we were now able to take a good guess or two and insert BAROUCHE, COUPE, CHARIOT, ROCKAWAY and VICTORIA and were soon left with ?ILL with and I H or G to complete it from the jumbled HIDAGE. Of course, Chambers told us that a HILL or IILL is not a form of carriage but, surprisingly, a GILL is.

The messages produced by extra letters usually causes us lots of Numpty head-scratching but this time there was a kind of repetition in it that resolved itself to THE SPARE WHEEL OF A FOUR WHEELED VEHICLE (after all, if you get V?H?C?E, or W?EEL, there isn’t much room for doubt, is there?) The perimeter letters were resolving themselves, when we ignored the carriages, to A SUPERFLUOUS OR USELESS PERSON OR THING and Chambers very kindly gives exactly that definition for FIFTH WHEEL, so the ‘spare tyre’ of the anagrammed title is not being disparaging about male physique but making a kind of mechanical comment. We know what to put in the centre of our grid (rather than the rather obvious and far less satisfactory SPARE TYRE that was our first thought.

We are almost there with two clues to go and some doubt about which way to enter our OSPREY.  The fish he was catching (the haWk rather than haCk or the clue) was our red herring as we had entered SECURE (jumbled) as our answer to clue 5, ‘Have heartless recluse in turmoil’ changing Have to Save, anagramming REC[l]USE and muttering that ‘save’ was a poor definition for ‘secure’. Well, obviously it was, since we had actually entered RESCUE, heading outwards – but that messed up our careful count of ins, outs, and jumbles, so that we thought one of our remaining clues had to head outwards when both YUKIER and DUYURE were in fact to be jumbled.

Let me say nothing or our reaction to that last word. It took us almost as long to work out as did the rest of our solve but I am sure others will moan enough so I’ll conclude with thanks to The Ace of Hearts for his very complex grid.

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