Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Listener No 4514, Cordon by Colleague

Posted by Steve Tregidgo on 24 Aug 2018

I worked through most of this while I was on holiday. I couldn’t take my hardback Chambers, so shelled out for the Android app (and the thesaurus too), which was well worth the price of £10 between them.

Even so, this was a lot of hard work for me — mainly due to the localisation of crossing letters, but also because I was sloooow to get the theme. It became obvious I’d benefit from solving in pairs (for, usually, one and a half entries per pair, if one was a jumble), but there wasn’t much help between groups of four for most of the solve. It took me all week to get three quarters filled-ish, and another couple of days before the theme hit me. Some of that delay is my own fault: having already seen I could make SILVIUS and ABEL from the outer ring, the respective wikipedia entries should have given me the connection. Worse for me is that on reading the preamble I immediately guessed that the “impostor en déshabillé” was a wolf, and I still didn’t look for the sheep!

I want to mention two resources, new to me, but which helped me a lot for this puzzle. First is an English-German dictionary which supports wildcards. I had SICHER in ring 5 and guessed at German; I put my partial letters from the NE quadrant (and question-mark wildcards) into this website and found SCHAFE, leading me eventually to Bach (three letters of which were in the centre of my circle already — I said I was slow to catch on!).

Second is Dictionary of the Scottish Language. That’s the full 22 volumes; I installed their Android app which has fewer entries but which still helped a great deal with the handful of clues which indicated a Scottish word as the solution or (much harder) in the fodder.

Despite my struggles I enjoyed the puzzle, but surely can’t be the only one who hit upon an early theme and was a little disappointed when it didn’t pan out. With entries going in, out, and shaken all about, surely that circle represented the Hokey Cokey! Alas, it was not to be…

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