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Listener 4532: ‘How?’ by Twin

Posted by Encota on 28 December 2018

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I finish the highlighting in this enjoyable Doctor- and TARDIS- based puzzle only to see I’ve coloured in ‘ACE TIM’ in Row 2.  Why Twin, that’s very kind of you to compliment me so.  No, really, you shouldn’t have …

Great to see Nina’s brother NINO making an unannounced appearance in Column 4, too.

I enjoyed the grid-filling PDM when, in the middle of trying to make sense of how to fit GRAND OPERA with SAVAGEDOMS and TIRADE, I spot they have digrams in common – DO & RA – and the two-letters-per-cell everywhere within the TARDIS outer wall, that is ‘bigger on the inside’, suddenly makes sense.  [Aside: talking of digrams, that reminds me, I must write that frequency analyser for Playfair breaking that I have always meant to have a go at!]

The added misprints in each down clue that became words that meant DOCTOR – pill, drug, change, leech etc – were an early spot, what with ‘burgeon’ and ‘cuter’ being two of the pre-correction words that became Surgeon and Curer.  There were three or four such words where initially there were options – Letch changing into either Leech or Leach, for instance – but these were easily resolved once the rest of the hidden message appeared.  That message constructed from all misprint corrections in order of course read BIGGER ON THE INSIDE: TWO HEARTS.

There were a few clues here I found tough to parse.  In particular these four:

  • Pier shop’s lead weight is 20-50 pounds (9, two words) took me a while!  I hadn’t previously been aware of a SWISS ROLL being a type of pier that can be unrolled.  But even once I had that part I still struggled with the wordplay.  It was only when I recalled the answer to 20d was SRO that it became clear: S+W+IS+SRO+L+L, a heavy-duty six-part charade.
  • In 26ac’s Two supporters – pair following the lead of Nottingham Forest supporter? (8), I could see the answer must be PROP-ROOT defined by ‘Forest supporter?’  but how did the rest work?  In error I had presumed that ‘pair’ would become PR and got very stuck.  At last I had it: PRO+PRO+(n)OT(tingham).
  • Thirdly was 40ac’s Someone choosing to rein in temper while one beams (12, two words).  Other letters meant it was going to be OPTICAL MASER and ‘one beams’ seemed a fair enough definition for that.  But the rest?  There’s OPTER (someone choosing) and CALM (…temper..) in there??  Eventually the ‘ah, got it!’ moment: I’ (for ‘in’) + CALM (temper) + AS (while) in OPTER.  So ‘rein’ alone was the Container&Contents_indicator – I guess that’s fair enough.
  • And the fourth and last I still can’t parse, at 13d:

Rat out of (vat) … lose it outside of vintage bar (6, two words)

Checked letters strongly suggest this is ?LOWON, and so only BLOW ON appears to work. I guess this can be defined by either ‘Rat’ or ‘Rat out’.  I’ve assumed that ‘vat’ is removed to become another ‘doctor’ word (i.e. vet).  But how does the rest work?  BLOW=lose it, perhaps?  ‘vintage bar’ = old meaning for bar, such as ‘pound’ which in turn could become L??  Ah, hold on – maybe it’s (estop) deleted from BLOW ON(es top)?  Using ‘outside of’ to mean ‘apart from’?  If yes, then that’s very sneaky!

And finally, the Title?  I wondered if first letters were going to be cycled round to the back, but that didn’t happen in the Grid.  Hmmm …

Maybe it’s simply the instruction to Doctor (vt) Who, resulting in How, as one example, i.e. How?  It’s the best I can come up with …

Wishing you all a peaceful Xmas break.  With the final Listener of 2018 just about to appear, I know what I’ll be doing for a little while this weekend!  For those particularly who’ve submitted all 52, best of luck with your 2018 performances 🙂

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota

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One Response to “Listener 4532: ‘How?’ by Twin”

  1. Colin (Twin) said

    You’re welcome, Tim! I couldn’t hide my admiration, obviously.

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