Listen With Others

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Listener No 4520: My Retirement Plan by Artix

Posted by Dave Hennings on 5 Oct 2018

Oh dear! It’s Artix time again and I guessed that I would be in for a bit of a struggle. I don’t really know why I thought that, especially since I’m pretty sure I’ve sussed all his Listeners (five of them) over the years. His last, no. 4475 last December, was Follow the Directions and required us to cut up the grid and stick it back together to reflect Westward Ho! and associated characters. Hopefully no scissors would be required this week.

Instead, we had five answers too long and using space outside the grid, five with an extra word that needed meaningful unjumbling, and five with a misprint. 14ac KIEV was the first to go in without any shenanigans. Next, 17ac 1-0? Once Barcelona’s ready, developed into failure to make match (12) looked like an anagram of ONE-NIL + PESETA, except the 1-0 bit looked like an indirect anagram. Which it wasn’t, of course, but was 1 + NADA + PTA + INTO* — a nice easy bit of wordplay!

It’s amazing how puzzles with lots of different things going on cause me to temporarily lose the plot. For example, I was trying to work out for far too long what the proteins were in 34ac Proteins as an alternative to stop illness affecting the mind (5) (OR in MAL). They were, of course, one of the extra words.

Everything came together gradually for me here. In fact, I think it was a series of PDMs — in this case, Penny Drip Moments. I had ‘reworks’ giving ‘workers’, ‘discretion’ giving ‘directions’ and ‘swap’ to ‘paws’. Eventually, those damned ‘proteins’ gave me ‘pointers’, and ‘sniggle’, which I thought must be ‘leggins’, was ‘niggles’, a form of handwriting. These all gave synonyms for hands, as revealed by the corrected misprints. Finally, when I had four letters extending outside the grid, John DONNE looked a possibility.

The hands were pretty obviously Left and Right, which would need switching in the grid, with the likes of RICE at 1ac changing to LICE, and SEMINAL at 6 giving SEMINAR. The leading NW–SE diagonal was the first place to look for highlighting material in the finished grid, and revealed O MY AMERICA and enabled me to track down the verse fairly early on in Donne’s ODQ entry — Elegies ‘To His Mistress Going to Bed’:

License my roving hands, and let them go,
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! my new found land,
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man manned.

The final PDMs came from line two above, which revealed the reason for the letters outside the grid, which also contained MISTRESS (row 8), LICENSE (row 1), ROVING (column 12) and NEW FOUND LAND (row 12). (Have I missed one?)

Thanks to Artix for another fine nugget.


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