Listen With Others

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Listener No 4541: Doing the Rounds by eXtent

Posted by Dave Hennings on 1 March 2019

Although this is the first eXtent puzzle here at the Listener, they have a few IQs and a Magpie under their belt. It wasn’t that difficult to suss that this was a collaboration between eXternal and Serpent, both of whom can be on the tricky side. However, the Magpie puzzle was a C-grade, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect.

Over at the Crossword Database, one of the bits of information available is the size/shape or otherwise of the grid. I had no idea how I was going to describe this complex shape. [I’ve just had a look. Ed. “The grid is hexagonal in shape, consisting of 19 overlapping circles, each inscribed with 6 triangles with concave arc edges.]

Across, Descending and Ascending clues were pretty straightforward, and provided a basis for the 12-letter answers that, apart from one, needed to be entered jumbled within each circle.

And that’s when it began to get tough!

The clues to these 12-letter answers, each with one or two extra words defining the 6-letter word surrounding them, varied from pretty easy to downright monstrous! Homing in on the clue that would likely be entered unjumbled, I sussed it would be 17 in the centre, and FLOWER OF LIFE was soon slotted in. Wiki soon elaborated.

The first of the easy ones that I got was 11 Ale [blinded] writer, man laced drink (two words) leading to MINERAL WATER and HOODED. I was determined to try and solve this without the help of anagram solvers, not that there many obvious ones. After about half the clues were solved, I needed to revisit the puzzle three or four times, eking out two or three answers with each visit.

Eventually, I was down to four.

23 should have been easier than I found it: [Careful] warning unlikely to stop Carol heading off. If you’re having trouble with a clue, the first thing to check is that you’ve identified the definition correctly. For ages, I had it as warning. TALL for unlikely was sneaky too — FORE + (TALL in SING).

15 did me no favours either: Philosophical discussions of [the lead] in eg aluminium windows, completely out of line since, as you can see, I had [the lead] marked as the definition of HALTER, rather than just [lead]. The the was part of the wordplay — METAL + THE + ORIELS – all the Ls. Annoying, since I could see it was META- something very early on and kept overlooking METATHEORY in Chambers.

18 next: China’s [embryonic] manufacturing base always beset by ill-fortune (two words) was EVER in something but needed Chambers Crossword Dictionary to eventually reveal FAMILLE VERTE under porcelain — (MILL + EVER) in FATE.

And finally, 28 To start, model (German) [showily dressed] in fragile material is out of A-list compound (two words) with DOLLED as the 6-letter word. However, although I could see that SALT was word two of the 12-letter entry, ending with A-LIST – IS, the rest of it was total gobbledygook. I confess that eventually I had to cheat and use Tea to help look for the answer. Thus we had UBER- (to start, model (German)) in GLASS + A-LIST – IS to give GLAUBER’S SALT. Lawks!!! (Glauber is in Mrs B under the 7-letter salts.)

Word of the blog, “eventually”. And no animation this week, I’m afraid — I wonder why.

All that said, this was a phenomenal puzzle and my hat off to the grid constructor. My other hat off to the cluesmith. Go easier on us next time, guys.


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