Listen With Others

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Cordon by Colleague

Posted by shirleycurran on 24 August 2018

Sheep may safely graze

We are in the Yorkshire Dales where one is never far from a maaing sheep or a bleating lamb and I have the very enjoyable role of setting the weekly cryptic crossword for the Farmers Guardian and frequently do that with a favourite Bach adagio playing in the background so you can imagine my delight when SCHAFE KONNEN SICHER WEIDEN appeared in that fifth circle and the centre four letters were clearly going to spell BACH.

No, it wasn’t an instant revelation and I had already muttered my habitual imprecations against Colleague when I saw that word ‘jumbles’ in the pre-ramble. I always think it is a bit of a setter cop-out and would be happy never to see another jumbled solution in my lifetime, though, on this occasion, those words ‘no two adjacent answers having the same method of entry’ rendered those jumbles fairly valuable.at a later stage in the solve and having set very many circular crosswords in my time with no jumbles, I know how frustrating it can be to reach word 36 or 48 and find that there is no possible entry.

I haven’t forgotten, even if Colleague is wandering in the pastures, that his/her entry ticket to the bar has to be confirmed. I wasn’t left in doubt for long! ‘Old-style white wine less likely at first to undergo diffusion’ gave us MOSEL less L(ikely) after OS = OSMOSE.(Actually we worked backwards to that one as BESOMED had already gone into the grid, confirming the B of BACH in the centre, and giving us the OSE of a word that had to go inwards or be jumbled.

Colleague produced the beer next (obviously a German speaker with his ‘Schafe konnen sicher weiden’ but he must have forgotten the German adage ‘Wein auf Bier, das rat ich dir. Bier auf Wein, das lass sein.’) ‘What the right arm may be used for – as in Special brew’ giving us UT in S + ALE, so SALUTE. Well, with that beer chasing the wine, I salute a rather drunken Colleague. Cheers!

Dales black-faced sheep grazing safely.

DORCAS was a lovely gift so we realized at once that the outer circle was going to contain a series of shepherds or shepherdesses and ABEL (the first), MOPSA (Dorcas’s ‘other’ in The Winter’s Tale) and GABRIEL OAK from Far From the Madding Crowd were likely candidates. Those four nicely framed the ones that were less obvious to me, OLD NOD (which produced a smile), CORIN, SILVIUS and DELIO. He was my very last entry into the grid and caused a bit of head-scratching.

WOLF was my first ‘sheep’. With all those shepherds around, I am surprised he snuck in (but, of course, he was in that part of the grid where ‘OLD NOD’ was on duty, so I imagine he is going to make a meal or two of the AMMON, the MOUFFLON, the SOAY, the SOUTHDOWN and the MERINO. DOLLY died, didn’t she? Sadly, as the Farmers Guardian campaign ‘TAKE THE LEAD‘ regularly tells us, it isn’t wolves so much as unrestrained dogs that are the menace. Well, there’s my bit of politicising, but it was prompted by a crossword that I thought was sheer delight. Many thanks to Colleague.

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