Listen With Others

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Listener No 4525: Market Square Fable by Charon

Posted by Dave Hennings on 9 Nov 2018

This was Charon’s first Listener, although he did have a sneaky Magpie B-grader earlier this year. A pretty empty grid greeted us this week, with just 45 clue numbers in a 14×13 grid. Intriguingly, answers were to be entered in the shape of a square, either clockwise or anticlockwise.

1, 2, 3… neatly solved, although only the first letter could be entered in its numbered square. And then the clue that everyone will no doubt remember: 4 A footballer par excellence curiously mentioned a cross and a stone (24, four words). The anagram indicator was obvious — curiously. But was the fodder the first half of the clue or the last? Both consisted of 24 letters and we were told it was four words.

The clue to 5 would give the game away Hawaiian volcano goddess who, you could say, is foreshortened? (4). Well… it might have for you, but not for me. I suspected it was PELE as the Hawaiian volcano goddess (there can’t be many), but the rest of the clue stumped me. Perhaps that was because I had always assumed that Pele was his surname, with his first name being Pedro or Mario or Gustavo. The wordplay in the clue was superb, needing to be read as 4 shortened to reveal EDSON ARANTES DO NASCIMENTO. Unfortunately for me that took a bit of time to straighten out!

The rest of the grid was teasing yet entertaining and I finally had the eight empty cells that the preamble told me that I would have. I suspected that finding the three unclued entries that would complete those squares would be a doddle. Luckily, it took me only (?) 20 minutes before I spotted Jack Spring-heeled, which sounded plausible. Wikithingie enabled me to reveal that it was SPRING-HEELED JACK and filling the remaining slots gave PAINTS THE TOWN RED and MELTON MOWBRAY PORK PIE.

Very satisfying, but nearly spoilt by my initial grid being highlighted in yellow, as I normally do, rather than an “appropriate colour”.

Thanks for some good entertainment, Charon. I’ll look at a pork pie in a different light in future.


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