Listen With Others

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Going Concern by Hedge-sparrow

Posted by shirleycurran on 30 August 2019

There’s a celebration of an anniversary of the mini car this month so, when I read the title ‘Going Concern’, I expected a crossword about that, but Hedge-sparrow is known for his compilations concerning living things so we held our breath, but only after checking the clues to confirm his place amongst the Listener oenophiles.

Alcohol, drop of malt on tap, poured for drinking companion (6)’ gave is M(alt)ONTAP* = POTMAN for a drinking companion – and left us with little doubt, and one extra word ALCOHOL from which we extracted the LO.  Then, ‘Utensil fermenting esteemed Bordeaux (8, two words)’ produced the rather surprising ST JULIEN with a J missing from the anagrammed UTENSIL. We looked it up and found that it is indeed an esteemed Bordeaux. Cheers, Hedge-sparrow – good taste too! None of the regular crossword ASTI or ALE.

A generous set of clues soon filled our grid, especially when SLIMED appeared to the right of the ST JULIEN (Male in drag, smeared with goo (6)’ SLED round M with an extra I). “That can’t be right” said I “as it means the unclued word has to end with TL”. “AXOLOTL” said the other Numpty and we had the theme. “These must be rare animals heading for extinction or already extinct. ‘The eight unclued entries are items tht may join the hidden ones before long’. We were able to add KAKAPO, KATIPO, SAOLA, SAIGA, FOSSA, BONOBO and RHINO to the axolotl and had our complement of eight.

I studied TS Eliot’s works a long time ago and pride myself on being able to recognise quotations from them, but this one took a while (of course, the ODQ quotes only the two lines that precede ‘WHERE IS THE LIFE WE HAVE LOST IN LIVING’, from The Rock.

I had kept a careful check of those extra letters, colouring them as we found them, so HUIA, AUROCHS and QUAGGA were spelled out for us and we were left with some doubt about the BA?JI. Chambers didn’t seem to have that creature and we weren’t totally confident about IRON for the ‘grating (Run over grating (4)- giving us the extra letter and RON). However, Chambers has ‘grating’ or harsh for IRON and our friend and ally Wiki produced a BAIJI for us.’The baiji (Chinese: 白鱀豚; pinyin: About this soundbáijìtún , Lipotes vexillifer, Lipotes meaning “left behind”, vexillifer “flag bearer”) is a type of freshwater dolphin thought to be the first dolphin species driven to extinction due to the impact of humans’.

Yet again, the Listener crossword has taught us about something.

A most enjoyable crossword, even if rather disconcerting in its theme. Many thanks to Hedge-sparrow.

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