Listen With Others

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Rock Group by Llig

Posted by shirleycurran on 17 November 2017

The first Numpty comment was that this was more likely to be a group of rocks than musicians, and so it proved to be. Then, naturally, I scanned the clues to check that Llig retains his entry ticket to the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit, and of course, he does. ‘Furs and wines returned (5)’ gave us our first misprint – ‘fury’ for ‘furs’ and we returned ports, getting STROP. Then we found ‘After depression comes French summer, a tonic (7, two words)’ giving us SAG + ETE A = SAGE TEA. Well, I assume there was something with that tonic so “Cheers, Llig! Billet d’admission accordé – see you in Paris?”

We solved these straightforward clues steadily with the series of misprints giving us an intriguing SISYPHEAN TOIL which seemed to confirm our initial guess that a real rock (or rocks) was going to appear in the final grid. Wasn’t Sisyphus the poor tortured character who had to push a massive rock uphill only to have to watch it fall down again?

However, even though we had guessed that an experienced setter like Llig would have placed his six affected columns symmetrically (and he had almost done that, since there were two columns where he couldn’t play his rocky trick and the six affected columns appeared symmetrically in the remaining ones) it took us a while to see which thematic material was being ignored in the wordplay of clues.

An aardvark is a groundhog and the clue ‘Good plump aardvark (6)’ led to just GROUND so there was a HOG cavorting somewhere and we know that a HOG is some kind of curling stone, so light dawned. HOG completed the clue ‘Push aside last of queues (4)’ S + HOG giving SHOG and was pushed upward in the grid – how elegantly thematic!

We needed five more missing rocks and found them in CAMEL(LIAS), TURNS(TILE), BEAR(PIT), NOSE (RAG) and SKIN(FLINT) where the rocks were laboriously pushed upwards into EPITASES, F/L/INTRA, DRAGON, SEXTILE and GOLIAS.

I always enjoy a crossword where there is a theme that can be visually imagined and this was no exception. Many thanks to Llig.

I am still wondering about one clue. We decided that RAETIA must be the solution to ‘Possible gunfire in air all over old Mediterranean Provence (6)’. This gave us AIR around TEA all reversed but what was that ‘Mediterranean’ doing in the clue? Our Swiss neighbours are very proud of their Raetian origins but I believe those ancient frontiers didn’t reach the Mediterranean.

Ah, the Poat HARES! They seem to be survivors as there were a couple disguised as HERA in the grid but Llig has possibly finally put an end to the little beast as this week’s small fellow was on DEATH ROW.

R.I.P. HARE!

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