Listen With Others

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Listener No 4544: The Session by Gila

Posted by Dave Hennings on 22 March 2019

As I read the preamble this week, I could picture the scene over in the living room at another LWO house. Someone is being given smelling salts to revive her from having fainted onto the sofa. “A whole puzzle about alcohol. Outrageous!”

She was talking about Gila’s first Listener, although he has had several over at EV and Inquisitor. Here we had four clue types: alcoholic, post-alcoholic, recovery therefrom and alcohol-free. Of course, we weren’t told which clue was which, but everything came together nicely.

Some of the clues were a bit perplexing! For example, I didn’t really now who the culprit was out of Naomi, Heather and Helena in 5dn: … Naomi at first — more than tipsy — protecting Heather from Helena? (13, two words). What had Heather done to provoke Helena?

However, I wasn’t at all surprised by the antics of the clergy at 2dn: Drunk bishop losing head following the end of one barrel (7). In fact it reminded me of the bishop and archdeacon, and their fondness for a tipple of two of sherry, in that excellent 60’s BBC sitcom, All Gas and Gaiters.

I must say that I found the endgame a bit tricky. Letters dropped from the clues would lead to a Maxim and an Item which needed to be written in the spaces under the grid. The downs weren’t too bad, with all the dropped letters giving something to help with a hangover:


As usual in these situations, a bit of doodling of letters helps. In this case, I tried PLOTEACARMA which looked vaguely Pharmaceutical. I should have sussed it then, but it took half a dozen more attempts to tease out Paracetamol.

The across Maxim was, however, a lot more tricky. Made so because the 11 letters dropped from the unaffected clues had to be joined by two of the five hangover clues which had their last letters dropped:

N R V E S O T I A I V, plus two of P I S N D

I won’t go into the convolutions that I went through with these letters. Suffice it to say that it took two (or was it three?) 15-minute visits to see the wine and come to In Vino Veritas. (Perhaps I should have had a couple of glasses before starting my doodles.) I had my doubts about the fairness of those two rogue letters but, hey, I got there in the end.

Good fun, thanks Gila.


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