Listen With Others

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Listener No 4502: Never-ending? by KevGar

Posted by Dave Hennings on 1 June 2018

KevGar’s last Listener was all about the numerous Burns poems which were addressed to various people, places or things. Before that we had the Walrus & the Carpenter eating oysters.

The title of this puzzle immediately made me recall Loda’s In Clue Order, On and On way back in 2009, which led to the infinity symbol via about half-a-dozen messages. In fact, the preamble told us that we would need to “draw a line in a thematic shape in the grid”, but it was too soon to jump to conclusions, wasn’t it?

There were three things going on with clues and answers: 10 answers lost a letter, the resulting words being defined by an extra word in 10 other clues; the remaining 20 clues had an extra wordplay letter not entered.

1ac Bizarre opening of Rachmaninov music is later re-orchestrated (12) looked like a straightforward anagram of R music is later after a letter is dropped, but it wasn’t obvious whether bizarre or re-orchestrated was the anagram indicator. A few clues later, with R and A in place, SURREALISTIC came to the rescue and I was off.

It didn’t take too long to discover that the 10 letters dropped from clue answers were the last in each, but it needed the extra wordplay letters to put me on the track of the theme: Music is life and like it…. I thought the ending might be something like … a lot do I.

Before resorting to Google, I decided to try and find the composer (I assumed) in the grid. A few minutes later, and I could see Harry NILSSON trying to appear in the main NE–SW diagonal, with the EL changing to LS.

Luckily, there was a lot more work to be finished before everything could be satisfied, and the first was to check that the Nilsson quotation was accurate. Indeed it was, but not by Harry, but by CARL NIELSEN! And so, with a couple of commas inserted, it finally read as Music is life and, like it, inextinguishable.

That enabled the infinity symbol to be drawn through the letters of INEXTINGUISHABLE in the centre of the grid, and I felt smug that my initial thought about the title was spot on. [Nobody likes a smart-arse! Ed.] More googling revealed Nielsen’s fourth symphony to be The Inextinguishabale, in Danish Det Uudslukkelige, apparently.

The home straight now, and we had to find the title to go under the grid, another piece by the composer. It seemed obvious to try his symphonies first, and No 2, The Four Temperaments, seemed likely, having the required 19 letters. It was already evident that the first and last letters of RefereE would be used to correct the composer’s name in the diagonal, but I double-checked that the dropped last letters plus the other extra words gave the 2nd Symphony:

T T T S H O A N E P plus Metropolis Sister lateR Elves Foot femalE housE Marijuana Urine

I always find drawing things in the grid a bit fiddly, having to ensure that lines go through the corners of cells where appropriate. This week, I also remembered a comment about Loda’s puzzle that the infinity symbol is slightly larger on the right side compared to the left. A comment was made in the notes that a symmetrical symbol was accepted and I hoped the same was true this week.

Thanks, KevGar.


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