Listen With Others

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Listener No 4508: Moon by Encota

Posted by Dave Hennings on 13 Jul 2018

This week we had Encota’s second Listener, following on from last year’s puzzle with Ian (M) Banks as its theme. Now we had to do something with all the down answers before entering them into the diagram. A final bit of highlighting would finish off the puzzle, together with a work to go below the grid.

It seemed logical to start with the acrosses, not only because that was the logical place to start, but also because they were to be entered unadulteratedly (not a real word, but you get my gist). 1ac Unfeasibly quick, spell “uranium” incorrectly (12) was obviously an anagram of spell uranium, but no amount of doodling enabled SUPERLUMINAL to be revealed. I hope to see a correction at if (/when?) Einstein is proved wrong in the next 20 or 30 years. [Don’t bank on it. Ed.]

My first run through the clues enabled well over a dozen across entries to be slotted in, so it was time to see what was required of the downs. STUMM was just one letter too long, and the anagram in 5dn immortal suntan was also one letter too long for its entry, but trying SUPER-something didn’t help me much. That was hardly surprising since it was ULTRAMONTANISM.

So what had to be dropped from each answer? Well, it didn’t take long for me to discover that it was the last letter of each, and with a surge of solving and confident grid-entry, everything was in place bar the highlighting and below-the-grid Work. I particularly liked the clue at 40ac Cream, say, in trifle to begin with, port afterwards (4) which was TRIO (the number of members of the pop group) with T(rifle) + RIO. I almost liked 41ac Around 31.4 North this (and nine others) could be triangulated? (6), although I really would have preferred Around 31.415926535 North…!

Not much time was required for the endgame, as was the case with Samuel’s Magna Carta last week. NICK BOTTOM, the weaver, was in the main SW–NE diagonal, and brought a smile to my face when I realised his significance. I was somewhat surprised that he hadn’t been used as a crossword theme before. A quick check of all the unused letters confirmed that A Midsummer Night’s Dream went under the grid. I must admit that I thought “(21 letters, four words)” in the preamble was unnecessary, unless to stop “AMND” being entered.

Thanks for an enjoyable and amusing jaunt, Encota. I assume that the title refers to something that no good Listener aficionado would indulge in! (Or is it a reference to “Moon take thy flight” Act V, Scene 1?)


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