Listen With Others

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Catechism by tnap

Posted by shirleycurran on 27 Apr 2018

Typing that title in, I have just realized that it, too, must probably be jumbled ‘after replacing some letters according to a thematic equivalence’. I took MCC out of it and added an E and jumbled it and the puzzle becomes ATHEISE. I am not sure about that. Einstein would probably have considered that his ‘Raffiniert ist der Herr Gott aber boshat ist er nicht is more of a catechism than an attempt to atheise us. I am leaping ahead. We muttered about ‘thematic effects’ and ‘misprints’ before muttering even more atheistically about ‘jumbles’.

But I did check tnap’s alcohol content. He wasn’t drinking out of one of those lovely presentation beer mugs at the Paris Listener Setters’ Dinner three weeks ago: however, his clues did still justify his membership of the topers’ outfit.

There was just a ‘punch’ in the across clues, ‘Twisted knee, not good, receiving a punch that roughens savate (6)’ Oh dear, tnap must have been struggling to find a G misprint if he had to resort to such an obvious ‘savate’. We worked out that this was GENU less the G(ood) round Mat (a punch that roughens) all reversed.

Actually the very first clue we solved was ‘Previously in French vintage  – mulled without skin of grape (5)’ Now he’s talking real wine – or maybe not. We back solved from AVANT*, removed the G(rap)E from vintage and found that we had an A misprint and the word was ‘vantage’. Ah well, there was a ‘Nip’ in 9d, ‘Nip after catty – it helps preserve the flowers (5)’ There’s a rather quaint picture in the surface reading. tnap must be chasing puss who is determined to wreck his garden: we struggled to work out that the ‘Nip’ was giving us ‘Hip’ (IN) and that the catty was a KIN, giving us KININ. Cheers, anyway. tnap.  Maybe we can share the punch, mulled wine and nip next year in York!

These clues were challenging and we were a couple of hours into our solve before I (who should have spotted it sooner – I have German-speaking grandchildren and use the language regularly, though I admit that  even the five-year-old speaks the language more accurately than I do) realized that the IST DER HERR GOTT of the comment had to be German.  We had already seen that SHE’LL LIKE, SKILL-LESS, FULL-LENGTH and ILL LUCK were being entered with one L acting for the three. Sadly we were looking for more of the same and it was a while before Einstein prompted us that this was his space-time continuum. Time was going to be expanded TTT, while space L(ength) was contracted. My nuclear physicist Numpty husband claims that this was a very primitive interpretation of the theory but sobeit.

We had an almost full grid and only ERBIA, SINUATE and some version of ADOPTEE/ADOPTED and HO?ES or HO?DS would complete it with those four being the clues whose wordplay we hadn’t parsed. We knew we had to somehow incorporate E = MCC into our calculations and worked backwards, anagramming those words with an MCC in the place of an E to see whether we could approximate the solution with the wordplay – and, of course  we did. CAMBRIC gave us the fine material that converted to ERBIA; CANTICUMS  were the songs that became SINUATE, ACCOMPTED changed to ADOPTEE and last of all, SCHMOCK (after SCH(ool) Taunt or MOCK) gave us HOKES. That last one was tough – well, the whole solve was no doddle. Thanks tnap for the challenge.


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