Listen With Others

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Sharp Work by Puffin

Posted by shirleycurran on 3 November 2017

Puffin seems to be a new setter but his promising grid and relatively short preamble caused us no initial concern. “Sharp Work” we mused. “Are we going to have a claimant who uses a spear to ‘press his claim?”

First of course, I needed to confirm that Puffin’s claim to a place in the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Elite is confirmed. “What are TYGS” asked the other Numpty whose grid was filling speedily. ‘On and off eyesight strained for old [Egyptian] cups with more than one handle (4)’ He had anagrammed alternate letters of eYeSiGhT to produce what the BRB confirmed were old drinking cups; but we still needed the evidence of ‘First person leaving [fond] farewell (4)’ to give AD(I)OS< = SODA. Assuming there is something with the soda, let’s raise a welcome glass – Cheers, Puffin!

We must have been lucky as WILLIAM soon appeared at 8d and HASTINGS seemed to be the most likely place that the most famous William chose to press his claim. That fitted the H?S?ING? that had appeared at 16d and it didn’t take us long to work out that he DEPOSED HAROLD. All we needed were 12 letters to make an arrow shaft in the obvious place and, of course ONE IN THE EYE was where we expected it to be, down the leading diagonal. But wait a minute – that’s 11 letters. Consternation: there must be something subtle that we are missing.

We are not very fond of the ‘extra word’ device. Of course, it is one of the easiest for setters but it seems to me to be a bit of a cop out (even if it does avoid the agony of attempting to find appropriate misprints); the late Mr Leonard actually refused to accept submissions that used it but he did also, many years ago, kindly prompt me “Leave the misprint device to the crossword stars; use an easier one that is less of a struggle!” Of course we are all weary of the extra letter produced by the wordplay, and so on, so perhaps, for once, the extra word is welcome. It did give us a rapid ARTHUR MAILEY’S TEN WICKETS FOR SIXTY-SIX and Auntie Google soon gave us all we needed to know. Obviously ‘1066 And All That’ would complete our grid.

Moribund hare?

Poat’s hare? Oh dear, oh dear! Puffin may be a newcomer but he seems to have dramatically put an end to the golden hare. There he was happily crossing the centre of the grid (admittedly in a rather cofused/jumbled state) only to be transfixed by a Norman arrow. Golden hare RIP.

Could the hare have survived? Watch this space!

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