Listen With Others

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Listener No 4556: Ambidexter by Opsimath

Posted by Dave Hennings on 14 Jun 2019

A Listener debut for Opsimath, although he has a few Magpies under his belt. They were all A-grade on the Magpie difficulty index, so I suspected an easy week. Misprints in every across clue here and, not limited to the definition, they can lead to entertaining deceptions.

1ac One of 12 popes clapped more musically (3) was a straightforward PIU (PIUS clipped). Unfortunately, the first letter belonged to an unclued entry and the third was unchecked. I thought I might as well see if the I was any help for 2dn Flag and home rule variable for some people (7), and was relieved to get IRISHRY (IRIS + HR + Y). In the swing of things, 14ac Will African native no longer sip on old river foolishly? (13, two words) was a bit more elusive. Although an anagram of SIP ON OLD RIVER seemed likely, it would be some time before LIONS PROVIDER came through.

And so, as suspected, the grid was completed fairly quickly, with the other two 13-letter entries also being anagrams: BY ALL ACCOUNTS, locals can’t buy novel, and MONOCHROMISTS change smooth crimson.

Thus, the corrected misprints gave us I stood in Venice: GG Byron. I thought Opsimath was being a bit chummy calling Byron GG (George Gordon), but let it pass! This is from a verse in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage:

I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;
A palace and a prison at each hand:
…Look’d to the winged lion’s marble piles,
Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles!

This enabled the unclued entries to be confirmed, which I’m sure we’d already guessed: PALACE and PRISON. So now we had to highlight two other features of the scene, each in a symmetrical arrangement. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find either MARBLE PILES or HUNDRED ISLES in the grid, but it didn’t take me long to see BRIDGE OF SIGHS and then RIO DI PALAZZO (OK, I had to google the river).

Thanks, Opsimath, very enjoyable, and reminiscent of Calmac’s puzzle Bank Transfer with Longfellow’s Old Bridge at Florence as its theme.


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