Listen With Others

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Listener No 4545: Polyfilla by Ifor

Posted by Dave Hennings on 29 March 2019

One of our more prolific setters greeted us this week and no doubt it would be quite tricky. His last was the puzzle that combined John Donne’s Holy Sonnets and single-letter chemical elements. This week, as with other Listener’s recently, an oddly shaped grid.

1ac and 5ac were quickly solved: AFEAR and GIMME. I liked Ifor’s definition of the latter: giveaway, not needing a hit. It is more realistically defined as an agreement between two golfers, neither of whom can putt very well! After those first two, my success with the acrosses was somewhat sporadic, made a tad difficult because each had an extra word that had to be removed before solving.

As for the downs — well. Lots of 3-letter answers, plus a lot more 6-letter answers that could be split into 3-letter words. Each had a number in brackets that dictated which clue(s) each 3-letter word thematically contributed. Moreover, the letters either side of each extra word would spell out two messages: an instruction that had to be applied to the unclued 8dn, plus a clarification of what that entailed.

It became fairly clear to me that all these little words would somehow anagram to the entries they contributed to. However, I confess it took the messages from the across clues to fully spell it out. I saw Cyril lurking there, followed closely by Russ, but it took Dolly’s discovery for everything to fall into place. The down entries would be like those Russian dolls that fitted inside each other with one word inside another inside a third and, in two cases, inside a fourth.

Finally the two messages were Enter Russian doll and Cyrillic capitals. My Russian is a bit rusty, so I needed Google to reveal how MATRESHKA needed to be modified for the Russian equivalent. I think it was MAPЁшKA, although I’m not 100% certain if the dotdot over the E is mandatory or not. I must also confess that I’m flummoxed by the clue to 21ac Whoop [unlikely] approval and take time after flight to Medina; it obviously referred to HIJRAH but I couldn’t see what knocked the HIJ off.

All in all, good fun as usual, so thanks to Ifor. Great title, too. Apparently, the world record is 51 dolls!
 

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3 Responses to “Listener No 4545: Polyfilla by Ifor”

  1. Fabulous graphics!

  2. ILAN CARON said

    The hijrah clue had me flummoxed for a while as well — but it’s a bit of a red-herring: parses just as R=take,AH=anno hegirae. So no need to knock anything off.

  3. Thanks, Shirley. Interesting that all three of us here went for the two dots, with lack of them being the ‘preferred’ solution. Told you my Russian was rusty! Ilan, Ifor himself told me what was going on with the clue — somewhat obvious in hindsight although having got HIJRAH stuck in my head, I probably wouldn’t have seen the simple solution.

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