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Follow-My-Leader by Harribobs

Posted by shirleycurran on 13 October 2017

Nothing untoward in the preamble. Harribobs was telling us that some words were going to have several letters entered in a single cell and that these were going to clash with crossing ones. We would have to anagram all those clashing letters to produce ‘members of a group’. Clearly, the word lengths in brackets told us where words had extra letters in one cell (or more than one cell as occurred in 11ac). Nothing to do but solve.

Well, I did have to check that Harribobs retains his membership of the Listener Setters’ Drinkie Club and he began well with ‘Exotic dame – she’s loaded (7)’ (DAME SHES* producing SMASHED with an extra E. I had to read a lot further to find ‘Doctors other half and Lord Lieutenant quaffing Roman mead (8)’ which gave Dr Jekyll’s ‘other half, HYDE round LL and ROM giving HYDROMEL with an extra L. So we had a lady ‘smashed’ on mead – not totally convincing. However ‘Served up eggs and beer for protein (7)’ set things right with ALE< and NITS< giving ELASTIN. Cheers, Harribobs!

We solved steadily and very soon had a set of crossing, clashing letters in PEBAS (‘HQ south of Peru armed American natives (5)’ PE + BASE with and extra E) and STRANDWOLF, ‘Scavenger’s run back behind stone ridge in the Drakensberg (10)’ (ST + RAND + FLOW<). These produced an anagram of BRANDT so we mused about German chancellors and whether Germany was to be written below the grid.

However, we had several tussles with clues before the first of these musings proved to be fruitful. ‘Basil perhaps holding Henry the fifth down (4)’ produced a smile when we worked out that SERB at 5 down was giving us an extra S here in 35d as we needed HERB and 5d was holding H[enry]. Clever stuff, even though we particularly dislike clues that refer to each other. It was fairly subtle here, wasn’t it? KISLEU seemed to be the solution to ‘A month before University, all within capital’s borders must go back (6)’ but we took ages to work out the brilliant wordplay. [H]ELSINK[I] was reversed before U, with an extra N that we needed for the message that was emerging. USE BOTTOM ROW AND LEFT COLUMN AS INDEXES, we were being instructed.

Eight chancellors had by now appeared: Adenauer (with that lovely use of LAUNDRESS), Erhard, Kiesinger, Brandt, Schmidt, Kohl (that one must have taken some head-scratching to fit into the grid), Schr̦der and Merkel and now we attempted to apply the instruction but with Numpty incompetence took the chancellors in the order in which they appeared in the grid Рand got a gobbledygook location. Of course, to produce the PALAIS SCHAUMBURG, they had to used those grid coordinates in date order. What a clever piece of setting. Thanks to Harribobs.

The Poat hare? Of course I had to hunt for a German Hase again and sure enough, he was there, cavorting with the local hare at the foot of the grid.

A post-script – we watched the conclusion of the German elections last night and saw Mutti retain her top place. I wonder whether this one was scheduled for this weekend in view of the German elections – Probably!

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