Listen With Others

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ILAM by MynoT

Posted by shirleycurran on 20 April 2018

Oh dear, that word ‘Jumbles’ and that was not all. Wordplay in the clues was going to lead to an extra letter or an omitted letter – in 29 clues – and those letters were going to spell out an instruction to solvers. It sounded rather daunting but we started anyway.

Of course, I read through the clues to check that MynoT retains his place in the Listener Oenophiles’Outfit, and, of course he does – with a vengeance. ‘Ring in Italy for cocktail (7)’ gave us BELL + IN + I as a fine start. He moved onto a Goan spirit, ‘Stun Roman goddess with cut Goan spirit (6)’ giving us DEA + FENI with the I cut, so DEAFEN. Mixing drinks was clearly a mistake as ‘Hooligans sit round about drunkards (7)’ gave SIT< round SOTS, so TSOTSIS and soon after that ‘Addle drunk departed (4)’ ‘Drunk’ here had to be an anagram indicator and we extracted an L from ADDLE to give us DEAD or ‘departed. The tippling wasn’t quite over and MynoT seemed to have moved on to vodka as we found ‘Murmuring, drink to rise and fall of Russia? (8)’ What a fine clue! We found an extra P here as we had SU[P] + SUR and RUS giving us SUSURRUS. No lack of alcohol this week. Cheers MynoT!

We noticed fairly early on that there was an alphabetical separation of the letters that were going into the three divisions of the grid. All the words going into the down clues in the first five columns seemed to be variations of the letters from A to H (AHAB, FACE-ACHE, BAGGED, HEEDED), then OLIO, LOIN, MINI, KILN, MINION and ONION, for example fitted into the centre columns and those wonderful words between R and Y (URUS, SUSURRUS, XYSTUS, TUT-TUTS and TRUSTY for example) filled the third section of the grid, so we understood how the jumbled words had to ‘fit a pattern that must be deduced’, and my anxiety about the jumbles diminished. But what was it all about?

Fortunately we were given a hint by those six circled letters. FGAFOL spelled FLAG OF for us so our three stripes were going to be a flag. It couldn’t be MALI that appeared backwards in the title. I looked that up and found a lovely green, gold and red flag in the pan-African colours but MALI has only four letters. Could it be FRANCE? That has six letters. Obviously we had to tease out that message that was being spelled out for us by the extra or missing letters.

We found COLOUR A TO H GULES, I TO P OR, THE REST VERT. Flags of Africa told me that that was the flag of GUINEA and I understood why MALI was reversed at the head of the puzzle. Guinea’s flag is the reverse of the Mali flag – so out with the pencils. The puzzle was a lovely challenge and great fun. Many thanks, MynoT.

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