Listen With Others

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Name That Tune by The Ace of Hearts

Posted by shirleycurran on 4 May 2018

What a surprise to download a circular grid.  Our initial read through the preamble suggested that there was rather a lot going on and also suggested to us that it was important that we solve those ‘wordplay only’ perimeter clues to enable progress – and how generous they were. We slotted in DISCHARGE, DETONATE, IGNITE, SHOOT, ENLIVEN and SACK in one speedy solve, noting, of course, that with that ‘Sack’ ‘the old name of various dry white wines from Spain and the Canaries’, The Ace of Hearts retains his membership of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit. His very first clue ‘Lament about cash being tight’ as well as giving us a hint to the theme that we completely overlooked (that Cash), seemed to say that he started off ‘being tight’, though in fact, it gave us DIRGE around CASH*. Cheers, anyway The Ace of Hearts!

SACK came from ‘Mark is to abandon heroin (4)’ and we simply took the M out of SMACK. Two friends told me that their completion of that perimeter immediately gave them the RING OF FIRE but I must have been too focused on the other types of sack (Chambers has four headwords!) to see the obvious, and we had completed the crossword, including finding those first lines ‘LOVE IS A BURNING THING AND IT MAKES A FIERY RING’ before seeing that those six words are variants of ‘fire’.

The device of radial entries ‘starting at a point to be determined and continuing from the outer edge if they hit the inner edge or vice versa’ seemed initially daunting – especially as it was coupled with ‘a letter omitted wherever it occurs before entry in the grid’. However, those omitted letters gave us what we needed as the first few clues spelled MAN IN BLACK and we could see that ????Y RING LOVE IS A B??? prompted us to JOHNNY CASH. His name went into the centre of the ring at once and we were able to complete those two lines.

FOLSOM PRISON BLUES followed but A BOY NAMED SUE took us a lot longer to find, even though it is probably the Johnny Cash song I remember the best. So we had all the thematic material. Finished? No way. We spent almost as long completing the radials.

These were, on the whole, very generous clues and solving went full tilt – the other Numpty was producing solutions faster than I could insert them into the grid, as there was always that question of which direction (keeping a careful record of that came in most useful at the end when we were struggling for our last solution) and which extra letter to extract before entering the wordplay, but, from start to finish, it was a steady and enjoyable solve.

Our very last word was LANGUES. It had to go inwards, S was the extra letter and TEA was telling us that LANGUES was the only possible word to enter but I couldn’t justify it. Of course, Chambers did, with ‘language (qv) of a religious or military order, which when I did the QV bit gave me the word ‘Branch’. Many thanks to The Ace of Hearts for an original and enjoyable crossword.


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