Listen With Others

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Listener No 4507: Agreement by Samuel

Posted by Dave Hennings on 6 Jul 2018

Samuel’s last Listener was over three years ago with his Essentials and ORIENTEERING being highlighted in the shape of the letters M A P. Unfortunately, I made a silly mistake with one of the answers, RANGATIRA (a Maori leader or chief), entering it as RANATIRI. Hopefully, no such silliness lay ahead of me this week.

To start with, a thematic 9-letter place name could be used as partial wordplay for eight entries, with only the remaining wordplay provided by the clues. Other clues had a misprint in their definition.

As a setter, Samuel can be fairly easy-going or quite tricky. After about half-an-hour, with about a third of the grid complete, it became clear that this was one of his easier ones. It was entertaining nonetheless, especially with a good dollop of Samuel’s sense of humour. Misprints can either stick out like a sore thumb, or be nicely devious. Here, we had a mixture of both. I particularly enjoyed 22ac Like men leaving tailors sporting handy equivalent to ties? (8) where ties became toes giving DIGITALS, and (don’t ask me why!) 36ac Thong’s sex appeal: empty eroticism (4) for ITEM (thongthing).

Eventually, the grid was complete and the wordplay missing from the clues was an anagram of DEEM. I’m afraid that my first instinct was to look in the NW–SE diagonal and was rewarded with MAGNA CARTA. 7dn was an additional hint to the location we were seeking: Playing hard game in town adjacent to where parties made pence (5), EGHAM being next to RUNNYMEDE where parties made peace.

The corrections to the misprints in the clues spelt out types of baron: baron-officer, court baron, baron-bailie, Baron Munchausen, baron of beef. Magna Carta was forced on King John by 25 rebel barons. The final change in the grid was to turn KANG FOHN into KING JOHN at acrosses 12 15.

I know that some commenters elsewhere have complained about easy Listeners, and this was certainly on the easy side compared to the recent Sabre and Ifor puzzles. However, as a weekly blogger, it is a welcome relief to knock one of these essays out in an hour or so, rather than the 2, 3 or more hours they sometimes take. So many thanks, Samuel.


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