Listen With Others

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Hide-and-Seek by Charybdis

Posted by shirleycurran on 6 Oct 2017

The Numpties were at a Scottish University reunion – one of those gatherings of old friends many years after graduation (and how very young all the freshers looked – could they really be beginning their higher education?) so it was with some trepidation that I downloaded the Listener (and got reception, kindly, to print it). What a relief to see ‘by Charybdis’ after the title Hide-and-Seek. We could be confident of impeccable cluing, as indeed we found it to be, and of some humour and, undoubtedly an intriguing end game – we found that too!

Of course there was no need to check Charybdis’ continued membership of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit but I did anyway, and had my doubts about ‘Not like Oman, reduced reserve of fruity compound (6)’ We guessed that this must have one of the 15 letters that were to be restored to clues before solving, and that [w]oman ‘was not like’ MALE and that IC[e] was ‘reduced reserve’ but MALEIC seemed to put us in cider country – not really much wine there.

It was two-thirds of the way down the down clues that I found ‘Dutch officers dropping off – they risk much to make a gin (6)’ I was reassured: we saw quite a lot of gin being made up in the north and one of the Scots pointed out that it doesn’t require the minimal ten years of distilling of the local tipple – however, that sufficed for me to say ‘Cheers Charybdis! See you in Paris next March at the Gare de l’Est?’ Ah, the clue? We had another of those extra clue letters here so that making a gin became lucrative – making a gain and we needed D(utch) and officers less the ‘off’ so ICERS risking much to make their gin (DICERS).

We smiled at that but smiled even more when, after scratching our heads to find a ski resort that fitted ???M??, we realized that ‘Ski resort rides around top of mountain (6)’ needed an extra N, giving ‘skiN’ and that we had to re-sort the letters RIDES, around that M(ountain) to give DERMIS. And so it progressed; a speedy but totally enjoyable solve and a text I loved, The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey soon appeared.  History (or the Tudors and Shakespeare) certainly gave Richard III a hard time and an unjustified reputation.

LEICESTER CAR PARK was next to appear, but what was that bit in the preamble about “uncovering” Francis’s proverb. Luckily, by this time, we had resolved our extra letters into BACON, TWAIN and WYATT and I was delighted to learn from our friend Wiki, that Francis Bacon was the originator of the proverb ‘Truth is the daughter of time’. (Of course, it makes sense, doesn’t it? How immature and malleable ‘Truth’ is at the hands of ‘Time’ and those wishing to adapt it to suit their political motives!). We had to suit Charybdis cruciverbal motives and adapt that saying giving ‘Ruth is the daughter of Tim’. Is she really? I tracked laterally for a while, looking at biblical Ruth, standing in tears amid the alien corn but could find no Tim parent. O.K. Numpty, move on.

Our unclued lights now told us that ‘Truth is stranger than fiction’ and Wiki told me that that came from Mark Twain, but who was the Robert Wyatt? I had to amend that proverb to get a saying of his that was clearly going to lead me to Richard III. I was astounded to learn that a Robert Wyatt I had never heard of had entitled an album ‘Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard’. The rest is history, but I did ask myself how on earth Charybdis managed to find and inter-relate those three statements. Lovely!

The Poat hare? Of course! There were a few jumbled ones cavorting around the grid but the best was a wee harum-scarum fellow running off the edge of the grid with the daughter.


One Response to “Hide-and-Seek by Charybdis”

  1. Charybdis said

    Lovely blog. Thanks, Shirley. 🙂

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