Listen With Others

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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.

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