Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Moon by Encota

Posted by shirleycurran on 13 July 2018

A five-line preamble that doesn’t sound too daunting; we learn that we have to find a name of somebody whose profession will tell us how to produce four words that will go below the grid. Oh what a give-away – ‘Numbers in brackets are the lengths of grid entries.’ We solve several clues and see what is going on: ‘Temporary train termini (6)’ gives us INTERIM but that has to intersect with POETASTERING, another anagram, ‘Strange opera setting for contemptible verse writing (12)’ so we enter it as INTERI. The same happens with OVERSCORED, CARIBOU and ULTRAMONTANISM so we confidently decide that we are lopping the last letter of words – or the bottom. First smile! Does that justify the rather risqué title, Moon?

Second smile, I remember to check Encota’s continued right of entry to the Listener setters’ tippling outfit. ‘Soaking a non-commissioned sailor (6)’ sounds hopeful but produces just a double definition RATING. Encota then attempts a bit of alcoholic cookery (that sounds disastrous; many trifle aficionados will tell you that the sponge soaked in port or whatever has to go in before the cream if you hope to avoid a rather curdled soggy mess – still, he did produce the port) ‘Cream, say in trifle to begin with, port afterwards (4)’ gives us a lovely deceptive T+RIO (Cream, say).

It isn’t until we get to ‘Whisky dealers with bad taste overlooking a case of ryes (8)’ and laboriously work out that this gives MAL + TASTE* less A + R(ye)S = MALTSTERS that we confirm Encota’s continued place at the Listener setters’ bar. A whole case of rye! Cheers Encota! (Maybe we’ll be overlooking a case of AA!)

Solving is not too difficult as these are generous clues though ‘Japanese chest straps for all to see (5)’ has us puzzled. The ODE comes to our rescue with TANS + U =  TANSU. We head scratch about ‘Darling boy Henry leaves meat for Muslims’. Subtracting HAL from HALLAL gives us LAL. But LAL? The names section of our old Chambers confirms that LAL can be a boy’s name and Chambers solves our final puzzle too, telling us that AES ALIENUM is someone else’s money for the Romans, so we turn SEA (Turn of tide for classical brass) and enter AES.

The third smile comes when, with most of the grid filled, we spot NICK BOTTOM climbing up the non-dominant diagonal. Of course, we have been nicking the bottom of the clues. What a lovely use of the name. We don’t really need to work out what the four-word relevant result will give A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM but we check all the same. I love the crosswords that have a theme based on Shakespeare’s works. Most enjoyable, thanks, Encota.

(I wonder what the spoof blogger will find to say about this one – the title gives interesting possibilities!)

 

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