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St Hubert’s College by Oyler

Posted by shirleycurran on 7 December 2018

I dread those three-monthly numerical crosswords and downloaded this one by the king of the numerical crossword world with immense trepidation, then saw all those perfectly normal clues and heaved a sigh of relief. Years ago, one of the Listener editors told me that solvers are not very fond of this combination of text and numerical crosswords. I have no quarrel with it and there was a fine description of a truly scumbag college to delight us together with all those figures to work out. Yes, it took us until after midnight as I (using the Internet) landed on a list of five-digit primes that didn’t include the one we needed, and we left it rather late in our solve to calculate the three potential ‘bank security codes’ at 14d, one of which would confirm that the master’s wife didn’t produce 19 children, that the college had 19 Nobel nominees in its ranks and 37 post-grads.

Of course, it was Pheidippides, the speedy snail, who produced the whoop of joy at about midnight, when all our speculation and calculation was confirmed and I have no issue with him, but must severely castigate Oyler for publicising such a disgraceful seat of drunkenness and debauchery. Yes, of course I checked the alcohol content of the clues and was appalled when we learned that 699 bottles – almost certainly of the finest quality – shall we guess about 50 pounds a bottle? – were consumed at a single dinner. That’s 35,000 pounds. Nearly three times the Master’s annual entertainment allowance. No wonder his bursar spent over two and a half years in prison for tax evasion. They were probably in drunken cahoots (but cheers, anyway, Oyler!) Somebody has to fund all that boozing and we guessed they must be charging hefty fees from all those overseas students (yes, we did wonder for a while, whether they comprised part of the undergraduate/graduate body or had to be counted separately).

Fibonacci, the cat, seems to be the most effective of the whole bunch of them, but 55 mice! (Some were probably rats). With 54 non-academic staff, and probably even more academic staff, the staff-student ratio of this vermin-ridden place is totally skewed and the domestic staff, who should be shifting the snails, mice etc. are probably slewed with all that wine – certainly not doing their job – but spending their day with stopwatches timing snails round the quad. I ask you!

Or is that how the Master spends his day? The other Numpty declared that he should be fired for gross moral turpitude. 39 years old and he had already fathered two or three bastard offspring before baby-snatching a wife twenty years his junior, a kind of Lolita, just about as randy as he is with her own sprog or sprogs in tow. And what do they do? Produce ten more ‘in or out of wedlock’ (seducing pretty students?)

The whole set up is shady. With all those ‘graduates’ from a body of merely 349 students, something is fishy. There must have been about 140 graduates a year over the 361 years of the college’s existence so something is going on. Are they in the business of awarding shady postal doctorates for a fee? Shame, Oyler! It won’t do.

 

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