Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

White Becomes Black by Augeas

Posted by shirleycurran on 25 October 2019

A friend who lives in the USA has just commented to me “Easy-peasy – for a Yank, anyway! I hope all the Brits struggle over this one to make up for all the times I’ve had to deal with Edinburgh subway maps or whatever.” He mutters occasionally about UK centered themes, Ealing comedy, for example, as do we, say, who also live overseas, when we have to solve a London-themed clue in The Times.

However, we had no problem with this one. Joseph Jefferson Jackson went straight into our grid, and when CINCINNATI and SOX appeared, we had only to consult Wiki to find that it was LANDIS (Terrestrial isles (6) = LAND IS)’ who imposed a lifetime ban on eight players, including the probably-innocent Shoeless Joe, a simple fellow but brilliant player who protested his innocence throughout his life (and, of course, we had to highlight ShoelessJoe and, appropriately, delete Landis).

My favourite novel is The Great Gatsby and it contains a wonderful episode when Gatsby introduces Nick to Meyer Wolfsheim:

‘He’s the man who fixed the World’s Series back in 1919,’

‘Fixed the World’s Series?’ I repeated.

The idea staggered me. I remembered, of course, that the World’s Series had been fixed in 1919, but if I had thought of it at all I would have thought of it as a thing that merely happened, the end of some inevitable chain. It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of fifty million people – with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing a safe.

If we needed any more hints, all those shoes, disappearing from clues (CHOPIN, SPIKES, MULE, BROGUE, PUMP etc.) soon spelled out ‘SAY IT AIN’T SO JOE’, an apocryphal plea that was probably never uttered – but it went under our grid to complete a lovely thematic compilation on just about the hundredth anniversary of the event.

Of course, that all took place during the period of prohibition so was there any point my seeing whether Augeas retains his entry to the Listener Oenophile Outfit? But he left no doubt: ‘Impose upon designated driver into last of his beer (6)’ gave us DD in (hi)S ALE. Drunken driving indeed – but ‘Cheers, anyway and thanks for the enjoyable compilation, Augeas’.

 

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