Listen With Others

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Postprandial by Salamanca

Posted by shirleycurran on 22 December 2017

‘Jumbles’, I groaned, but needn’t have worried. The other Numpty was racing through his grid fill and had it a quarter full before I had reached my habitual scan of the clues during which I highlighted ‘Calls group to drink (7, two words)’ and inserted RING SUP (or RINGS UP if you will), all the evidence I needed of Salamanca’s continued right to his admission ticket to the Listener Setters’ Oenophiles’ Outfit. I didn’t need to worry as the entire crossword  celebrated that merry drunken postprandial song that we so much enjoy in THE HOBBIT when poor Bilbo Baggins is taunted and encouraged to quit his unimaginative settled life-style by the uninvited company of dwarfs and co. Alcohol flowing freely, glasses chipped and bottles smashed, so cheers Salamanca – A Paris, I hope.

It was a speedy grid-fill but I have no quarrel with that, The clues were unambiguous and some of them were delightful. ‘A French river bore (9)’ gave us that lovely deceptive use of two meanings of bore UN DERWENT. ‘Bathroom fixtures reflect cry of granny perhaps (7)’ used that rare word AVAL (of a grandparent) and had her SOB, turning the whole caboodle over, producing LAVABOS. ‘Nurse treated ailing gent outside hospital (11)’ gave us an anagram of AILING GENT around H and we smiled again as NIGHTINGALE went in.

Only one clue gave us a new word, IGUVINE, and the wordplay was all we needed ‘From Umbrian town, hybrid fruit’s not left turning on climbing stem (7)’. We turned UGLI without the L on a VINE and checked with Uncle Wiki who assured us that that word meant coming from GUBBIO . We’ve been there and found the wealth of culture fascinating.

Our smiles grew even broader when we saw a number of familiar words and recognised the thematic song. Of course, filling those unclued lines just about completed our grid. Yes it was a speedy fill but it was most enjoyable from start to finish. Many thanks to Salamanca.

Ah, the Poat hare. There was a leaping one at the foot of the grid but the tiny one curled up in the centre was clearly worried about the  ‘Ferocious hunter when caught in rural trap (6)’ AS in WEEL giving us a predatory WEASEL. Will our poor little hare last to the end of the year, I wonder?

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