Listen With Others

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Well-spoken by Miles

Posted by shirleycurran on 18 October 2019



We have already solved fairly challenging compilations by Miles at the C and D level in the Magpie but this is his first Listener and the title ‘Well-spoken’ doesn’t say much to us (it still doesn’t now that we have solved it but I am sure Dave or Tim will  explain it). I quite like a carte-blanche crossword. It is clear that this one is going to have some drawing as the endgame, so bars would probably be an encumbrance and we are given three 11-letter solutions that help us place the remainder of the words we solve. I believe the clues have to be fairly generous in a carte blanche since the solver is starting with a blank grid and no guiding spaces with numbers – and this was a generous set.

We are also given enough alcoholic clues to give Miles admittance to the Listener oenophile setup. ‘Drop bits of egg fermented into French drink; it’s like fizzy yoghurt (5)’ (Well it would be wouldn’t it – what a gross way to handle your apéritif!) We put E(gg) and F(ermented) into our KIR and get KEFIR ‘an effervescent drink made from fermented cow’s milk’. ‘He might generously subsidise upsetting waste on NY bar-room bill locally (10)’ There’s a rather strange surface reading there but we work backwards from BENEFACTOR producing NEB< as the bill, CAFE< as the NY bar-room and ROT< as the waste. ‘Then there’s ‘Sicilian smoker burns alcohol in a saucer (4)’ A bit of an old chestnut, ETNA and the first one we solved but ‘Cheers!’ anyway, Miles, I’m raising my glass to a fine set of clues that soon gave us a complete grid.

The omitted wordplay letters had spelled out EULER LINE. It’s rather an EULER day today. The numerical crossword setters Oyler [sic] and Zag have just issued Number 12 of the Crossnumbers Quarterly where solvers who enjoy numerical puzzles can enjoy about nine of them in each three-monthly addition. Take a look!

We needed to take a look at Wiki in order to understand what half of the preamble was spelling out for us then, when we had joined our three Xs to make a triangle, there was a smile of understanding of that unch phrase for there almost in the centre of our grid A LONE TEPEE LEANS.  Those four small unclued words ELAN, LEO, STEP and EEN would have lowered the median word length considerably had they not originally been split up by bars in our grid and they performed the delightful task of describing what we were drawing.

It must have been quite a challenge to fit words into a symmetrical grid with those Xs, Os, and EULER correctly placed to produce the Euler line and as usual, I learned something new so thank you, Miles.

 

One Response to “Well-spoken by Miles”

  1. David Thomson said

    I enjoyed this one. The long clues did indeed help the entries on their way, but the penny didn’t drop for me about the theme until the very last moment. After much wikiness I think I finally understood it, fetched my ruler and compasses, and was amazed at how accurately the items were represented. Another triumph of construction of a rather different kind. And a reverse cross-over of maths puzzles into the word ones.
    PS – I have to confess I didn’t understand the title until this discussion pointed it out to me. Doh!

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