Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Howsat! by Skylark

Posted by shirleycurran on 6 Sep 2019

A new Listener compiler with a nicely concise preamble and the promise that ‘A majority of the entries (either in full or partially) can be associated with’ … the three-word title that we will write below the grid. That sounds promising.

Does she qualify for entry into the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit? I scan the clues and find ‘Unites with Barolos? (4)’ Those are my favourite Italian wines. We enter WEDS and put that R into the margin as the first of our extra wordplay letters that are not entered into the grid. It gets better: ‘Good empty reservoir filled with special port (6)’. We put S into G(oo)D TANK and produce a port GDANSK with an extra T. Barolo and special port! Welcome and cheers, Skylark.

Skylark’s clues are generous and our grid fill is speedy, though a few have us wondering. The ‘Old Italian city developing language, eschewing Latin and German (5)’ produces an anagram of ANUAGE from which we have to extract an extra letter. It takes Wiki to tell us that GENUA was an old spelling of GENOVA.

O’GILL is a new one on me too, ‘Irishman in Disney film, as good? Wicked! (5)’ Again Wiki comes to the rescue and  we work out that she is using SO, for AS and thus producing an extra S from SO G ILL.

Fortunately letters in the grid are soon sufficient to give us FORGET-ME-NOTS and HARVEST BELLS and we wonder whether Betjeman is the creator of the thematic work but we need ‘two words, ten letters’ so we soldier on, failing to see what those two and many other words in our grid have in common. There’s another red herring too. Our extra letters are spelling out CHAMBERS and ADD…

We are mystified until we see DISC at the end of the message and everything falls into place. Back to Wiki and we learn that EVANS, CHAMBERS, ADDERLEY, COLTRANE, COBB and KELLY all feature on MILES DAVIS’ KIND OF BLUE.

I take out mu blue highlighter and see how many of our solutions could be associated with the colour blue. I don’t know whether selkies, sokkahs, Gdansk or Genua could be blue but many entries certainly could. Many thanks to Skylark.


3 Responses to “Howsat! by Skylark”

  1. Gail Busza said

    You’ve missed out: blue heeler, blueweed, blue-rot and bluegill! 🙂

  2. Thanks, Gail!

  3. Andrew Varney said

    Blue STAR and blue LINE were 2 others I noticed at the time. Wish I’d made a list of all of them!

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