Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Archive for January, 2019

Listener No 4536: Meowed by Apt

Posted by Dave Hennings on 25 January 2019

Eighteen months ago, Apt’s first Listener had Hofstadter’s Law as its theme. This basically says that things take longer than you think, even when you take that into account. I think some Listeners fall into that category for me. This week, Apt had the honour of providing first Listener of the year.

Apt chose to slot an extra word into each clue, the first letters of those in the acrosses giving a phrase from a play and some of those in the downs giving definitions of new entries which needed to appear in the grid.

Apt’s clues were fairly forgiving, and the grid was completed in shorter than average time. My favourite was probably 34ac Fly [economy], or part of “jet-set” section (6) which was a simple hidden TSETSE. Actually, ‘simple’ didn’t describe it for me, since it completely passed me by on first reading. Perhaps it was the quotation marks that boggled me, since 5dn Strike [tendentious] passage from translation (4) gave me no such problem.

The unclued entries were easy to complete, and together with the first letters of the extra across words gave “All debts are cleared BETWEEN YOU AND I” from Bassanio in The Merchant of Venice. I won’t say that it is top of my pet hates, but ‘between you and I’ instead of ‘between you and me’ is pretty high on the list.

Once I had dispensed with the extra down words that were definitons of words revealed by changing all the Is in the grid to MEs, the first letters of the remaining extra words gave R P R T C E E O R I H C O N Y. ‘Incorrect hopery’ was my first guess, and HYPERCORRECTION was second — or was it third, which was lucky because I’d never heard of the word before.

Thanks to Apt for a gentle introduction to the year. Probably got it wrong!

For those of you who may have been wondering what is top of my list of pet hates, it’s people who, normally in text messages, use ‘should of’ instead of ‘should have’, as in “I should of known better”!


Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Meowed by Apt

Posted by shirleycurran on 25 January 2019

“Meowed? Something about a cat”, we mused, as we began our pencil and paper solve driving down from a week at 8000ft in the Sierra Nevada. Of course I checked to see whether Apt retains his membership of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Elite and he didn’t score too well with just ‘port’ towards the end of his clues ‘Heading north skinned fish departed port city (6) ODESSA went in there (Was it (p)ASSED O(n)

I’m jumping ahead. We read a clear preamble that led us to a play (“Probably Shakespeare, we said – maybe poor Tom is the cause of the Meowing.”) and a ‘purported’ error that we were going to rectify in the final grid. Extra words were going to be used in three different ways. Initial letters of those in across clues would give us words of a speech. Some in down clues would define the words created by the rectified ‘purported error’ and the remainder would give us letters to anagram, together with the circled letters, to form a term for the error. Nothing daunting there, and, after all, this was the first crossword of the year so we were expecting a gentle one.

Solving was speedy and by the time we reached Silicon Valley we had a full grid with just one doubt and a familiar phrase: “ALL DEBTS ARE CLEARED …” “BETWEEN YOU AND I”, I completed. That oh-so-magnanimous declaration of Antonio in The Merchant of Venice, when he is about to give his pound of flesh for Bassanio. “Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all miscarried. My creditors grow cruel. My estate is very low. My bond to the Jew is forfeit. And since in paying it, it is impossible I should live, all debts are cleared between you and I if I might but see you at my death. Notwithstanding, use your pleasure. If your love do not persuade you to come, let not my letter.”

We have that comical little book of English grammar ‘Between You and I” on the shelves at home and are well aware that the term of fussing about this traditional  use of the nominative after a preposition is considered to be ‘HYPERCORRECTION’ so it was an inverse solve to work out which of the extra words of the down clues were definitions of the Is that were to be changed to ME. RAMESES gave PHARAOH, MESHES gave NETWORK, GAMELY led to WILLINGLY, SMEGMA had to be SECRETION, HUMMED gave HOAXED, SMELT was the FISH and EMMETS areTOURISTS somewhere in the south-west. Nice, Apt.

Our missing letter was in E?EA ‘Less than half of tuition that’s on the web site for philosophers. Was this E-TEA(CHING) or E-LEA(RNING)? We needed Chambers to tell us that ELEATIC referred to ELEA, a gathering site for philosophers. Of course there was no Poor Tom – just ME OWED. Many thanks, Apt.

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

L4536: ‘Meowed’ by Apt

Posted by Encota on 25 January 2019

A very gentle start to The Listener crossword in 2019 – thank you to Apt and the Editors for that 🙂

I was impressed with the Chambers definition of HYPERCORRECTION – the word to be written below the grid – which cites ‘between you and I’ as part of its definition.

Though most clues were straightforward, a couple took me a little more time:

13d. Those attending Pharaoh fret when rule of law’s abandoned (4)

‘Pharaoh’ was the extra word, so becoming:

Those attending fret when rule of law’s abandoned (4) 

I even had ?ATE.  What I’d missed (yet again!) was R for ‘rule of law’, defined in the BRB as R: rule (law), leading to G(r)ATE.  One day I’ll remember that without the BRB’s help!

And 25d’s,

Heading north, skinned fish departed port city (6) 

which became, after word deletion,

Heading north, skinned departed port city (6) 

It looked like it was going to be ODESSA, but why?  Eventually I think I parsed it correctly as { (p)ASSED O(n) }<

And the Title?  I think it’s ME (for I) and OWED (for the Merchant of Venice reference in the hidden message, “ALL DEBTS ARE CLEARED BETWEEN YOU AND I”).

Surely coincidence, I did notice that the rumoured late-1970s punk alter ego of this professional opera singer ( ) was present in the grid, in the form of SAM SMEGMA – but that’s quite enough about that 🙂

2019-01-06 23.51.14 copy

Cheers all,

Tim / Encota


Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

One Good Turn by Paddock

Posted by shirleycurran on 18 January 2019

Paddock, indeed. We have met him other once before and, of course, Shakespeare tells us that Paddock is a toad. What do  I see at 6ac? ‘Toads hump it about (6)’ A tough clue, that, and perhaps mildly scurrilous? PIP we select for that ‘hump’ and we invert SA to give PIPAS which the Big Red Book tells me are S American toads – so are we solving the last crossword of the year on the subject of bufo bufo?

The relatively brief preamble has suggested to us that there are going to be a couple of adjustments of our grid using those six words produced by the relatively gentle Group A and Group B clues (ASAR, DROLLED, PEAT, TONAL, PROVIDE, PERSE).

Of course Paddock has renewed his membership of the Listener setters’ oenophile elite. We have ‘Elizabethan piece sorry after spilling wine (4)’ I opt for PENITENT, spilling or losing the TENT. Then we find, ‘Eg Darby and Joan clubs shunning refrigerated Aussie lagers (6)’ Those must be (C)OLDIES, and (if we ignore the E(S)AU Vichy water, ‘Texan’s second person present rising to acclaim endless source of liquor (6) gives us YOU-ALL. Cheers, Paddock!

We were solving this crossword with pencil and paper with two demanding grandchildren in the child seats as we drove to the Golden Gate Bridge (their parents involved in a house move) so I struggled to complete the top left hand side of the grid (TWIBILL, GALLINULE, AMENE?) but then saw that we had NIOBE in the centre of the grid, and that by changing the three entries spelling her name (using PEAT, DROLLED and ASAR) we produced ATLAS (all, of course skilfully maintaining real words). Now what did Niobe and ATLAS have in common? I remember Shakespeare’s ‘Like Niobe, all tears’ referring to the stone that Leto turned her into as a punishment for her hubris. Wiki tells me ‘In another story of Roman mythology Atlas refused to offer Perseus, son of Zeus, hospitality because he was told a prophecy that a son of Zeus would some day steal his daughters golden apples. Insulted, Perseus showed him the severed head of Medusa, which had the power to turn all who looked into stone. So we put a transformation to STONE in the centre of the grid.

So there we have it. PERSE replaces HARSH and gives us PERSEUS, that we must highlight, and TONAL replaces those PIPAS producing LATONA (another name for LETO). It was OVID who told us about these evil events in Greek mythology so he must be the third name we have to highlight. Aah! BROMIDE becomes PROVIDE. How very neat and what a pleasure to solve a crossword with no clue gimmicks and where all the transformations produced real words. Thank you, Paddock.

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

L4535: ‘One Good Turn’ by Paddock

Posted by Encota on 18 January 2019

Fill out the grid.  Carry out the Title as an instruction.  2018 sorted.  Simples 😉

2018-12-30 20.38.54 copy


Tim / Encota

Posted in Solving Blogs | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »