Listen With Others

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Follow the Directions by Artix

Posted by shirleycurran on 24 November 2017

Artix’s crosswords are usually very challenging – none of the ‘Stripey horse (5)’ clues for him, but this week’s clues were not desperately difficult and we soon had a complete grid. It was not the grid fill so much as the wealth of material that was hidden in that apparently innocuous little 12 x 12 grid that was exciting.

Of course I started with that check that he retains his entry ticket to the Listener Setters’ Topers Outfit, though I didn’t really need to check, as, since we are members of the Rasputin setters trio, we are usually at the same table at the setters’ dinner and share our taste for the fine reds. I had to read a long way down his clues before I reached ‘Sensational bit of aroma overlooked by winemaker (4)’ A confession here, this clue gave us a slight advantage – Artix lives on the south side of Lake Geneva and we can see his dwelling place from our north side and what is the local red wine? Gamay, so we removed just the bit of Aroma from that and had GAMY = sensational.

‘Making tea in bar, we’re all but rejected (6)’ (and so we should be!) We turned round PUB and WE’R(e) and got BREW UP. More alcohol to come: ‘Strict limits for women lapping left over Scotch up (6)’ That was entertainingly deceptive as we had to reverse the limits of WomeN around (lapping) ARRO, also reversed, giving NARROW. So “Cheers, Artix. A Paris!”

It wasn’t the grid fill so much as what followed that had the Artix touch. The other Numpty confirmed that there was only one ‘heptagonal’ shape that would leave pieces that could be reassembled to form a second heptagonal shape that was a reflection of the first, and that that was an arrow. Therefore, we had an arrow shape, heading west that encompassed the hero, and, sure enough, there we found, heading west, AMYAS LEIGH. First pdm. The theme  was Westward Ho (second pdm – the title said ‘Follow the Directions’ – we were indeed doing that but so was he – going WESTWARD HO) We had to check with Auntie Google and she told us that his first love was ROSE SALTERNE (4,8). Cutting that initial arrow from the grid did indeed ‘break her up’ but not so evilly as the Inquisition in the novel who burnt her at the stake!

We fiddled with those left over pieces to create the second, reflected arrow and found, to our delight, that ARROWHEADS now appeared in our grid, crossed by WESTWARD HO. Fortunately, I was using an eraser pen as Amyas Leigh’s second love, AYACANORA was in our re-constructed grid, but with a U that needed to be adjusted with love (O) to give her correct name. What’s more, like Rochester in Jane Eyre, Charles Kingsley’s s hero is blinded at the end of the novel. It must be some quirky form of romanticism that thinks that the heroine will be blissfully happy with a blind husband. However, we had to obey instructions and remove him  ‘as on his journey he has become unsighted’.

Truly an astonishing construction and great fun. Congratulations to Artix!

The golden Poat HARES? I wouldn’t expect to see many of them off the Caribbean coasts of Venezuela even though Amyas Leigh was apparently seeking gold there but, sure enough, there was a veritable chain of the beasts, with yet another becoming ‘unsighted (well, decapitated!) when we blinded Amyas Leigh.

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