Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

August Break by Aedites

Posted by shirleycurran on 19 October 2018

‘Strange title’ we said, ‘since we are almost at the end of September’. Of course, at that point we were not aware that the crossword was celebrating a German mathematician who died 150 years ago (on 26th September, 1868).

I particularly enjoy Aedites’ crosswords and have been happily solving one or more every year since we began to attempt the Listener so I really don’t need to check his adherence to the Listener topers’ outfit but I do a quick run through the clues anyway and find that they are rather sparse as far as alcohol is concerned. ‘Soft malt extracts work (7)’ is all I find. I suppose the ‘soft malt’ must be the ‘gentle spirit’ from the highest distillery, Dalwhinnie, rather than one of the peaty island malts. Oh dear, we solve the clue and decide there has to be a misprint in it and that this is a ‘soft male’ – he ‘MILKS OP’ so is a milksop. Hmmm! Well cheers, anyway, Aedites.

Fine clues, these, and solving goes along steadily until we have the centre columns of the grid filled with three of the 11-letter clues giving us a useful skeleton for the grid. ‘SBIRRIGATE’ made us smile. ‘Wasp underground for all to see involved in Italian police scandal (11)’ We put a U into what must be the Italian version of Watergate, and decided that ‘WasH underground must be SUBIRRIGATE. ‘Taunton dean comes to farm (that had to be Harm – an anagram indicator) without any comments (11)’ gave us UNANNOTATED, and with ELECTROTYPE, we soon had all but those curious unclued, half words at the left hand side of the grid in place.

I fed a few letters into TEA and that gave me ‘ORNITHOSAURS’ for ‘Cold-blooded fliers and sick authors in irons clanging (11)’, so  it had to be another misprint in an anagram indicator, cHanging AUTHORS and IRONS (rather a clunky surface reading in that clue, I am trying to picture authors and prehistoric flying beasts clanking about in irons – but I know that these long specialist words can be tough to clue).

Fairly early on, we had worked out that the message told us to EXPLAIN THE GRID HIGHLIGHT ELEVEN LETTERS but the remaining six divided words had us head-scratching for a while as we hadn’t yet spotted MOBIUS STRIP down that diagonal. However, a break for dinner and a new look made all fall into place. Of course, if we treat the grid as a MOBIUS STRIP, FAST joins up with DAYS, HAIR with TAIL, RAS with TAS and so on. What a fine final touch. Thanks to Aedites.

 

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