Listen With Others

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Listener No 4543: Migratory Birds by Malva

Posted by Dave Hennings on 15 Mar 2019

Ah, it’s nature week again with Malva (formerly Dipper). Last year’s puzzle was based around alternative names for birds. This week gave us the shortest preamble for a very long time, and just explained what we had to do once the grid was filled — highlight three muddled birds.

As I read through the across clues, I marvelled at Malva’s ability to incorporate a bird in each one. However, my solving was not so marvellous, and after 7 or 8 across clues, I decided to try some downs. No luck!

I then wondered if the birds were just extra words that needed to be removed before clues could be solved. Going back to 1ac, that idea failed to fly — pardon the pun! Finally getting my brain into gear, 15ac Elegise nandoos creatively in cast iron (12) seemed to be a likely anagram, but just a couple of letters too many. “SPIEGELEISEN”, I said out loud, but not until I’d read “spiegeleisen” in Mrs B under iron! I must admit that I didn’t really expect to find that there. Disentangling elegise from it, I found that the clue should have read Elegise snipe creatively in cast iron (12), the snipe coming from 8dn.

How cunning, and how obvious from the title! So, for the next couple of hours (actually, a bit more, I think) all these birds had to migrate to different clues before they could be solved. Very enjoyable. My favourite clue, primarily because of its novelty, was 9dn. Once the heron and been replaced by the kokako, we had Idiot putting any odd bit of kokako under beetle (4) — DOR + (K(okako) or (ko)K(ako) or (koka)K(o))!

Finding the three birds in the grid that were muddled was relatively straightforward, helped by the preamble: “each 5 letters, in a vertical line.” CRAKE was the first to pop up, in column 11. TEREK took a bit of time (column 6), followed by VIREO (column 4).

Thanks, Malva, for a nicely thematic and entertaining puzzle.


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