Listen With Others

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An Exchange of Letters by Harribobs

Posted by shirleycurran on 13 April 2018

We appreciate a short preamble and Harribobs gave us one with very little to worry us: a word to highlight in the final grid that was the final word of a quotation that would appear when we had changed just one letter in each word that we entered (quite a challenge for a setter!) Fortunately we were also going to identify the source of the quotation by finding a misprint in every across clue and all the final words in our grid were going to be real words. That left us the down clues with no disturbing gimmick. We got down to solving.

Of course, I found the evidence that Harribobs retains his place in the Listener Setters’ Tippling Club and he gave us ‘Whisky and soda recipe is used in prank in Hull (7)’ We decided that the R (recipe) had to go into the whisky and soda STINGER to give us a STRINGER or a reinforcing plank in a ship’s hull, thus producing an L of our quotation’s source at the same time. That was all the alcohol there was in Harribobs’ compilation – but it was enough. Cheers Harribobs!

We solved steadily with some struggles. Does a WEE TEST really exist? I doubt it, but it made us smile and, of course, ‘In parts extremely soaked … (7)’ gave us the dialect form of ‘wettest’. LUREX had us struggling too though we were obviously looking for ‘Those who Etch (not Itch) wearing some light cloth (5)’ That U went in as our very last letter when we realized that the RE were ‘formerly the Royal Society of Etchers and Engravers’ (according to the Big Red Book) and that they were surrounded ny LUX (some light).

Fortunately it was that part of our grid that filled the fastest and we very soon had HENRY W LONGFELLOW. Of course I went to the ODQ to see if the letters we already had would give me that all-important quotation – but it was not to be (though I did find something about four and a half bees!) We needed a poem about K????OS and vainly searched for a Longfellow interest in KNOSSOS. Oh those Listener red herrings!

Happily, PISIFORM appeared and gave us an R misprint in the clue (caRpus, not caMpus) and that was all we needed to find KERAMOS and our quotation “All things must change to something new, something STRANGE”.

We had to be very systematic about changing one letter in each clue to the one provided by the quotation. I wonder how long it took Harribobs to create this grid with that device in it! There were pitfalls for the unwary; it would be so easy to put SNITS and TIRL in that bottom left-hand corner, thus changing two letters of SNAGS. I wonder if any solver did! Many thanks, Harribobs.

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