Listen With Others

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Trick or Treat by Deuce

Posted by shirleycurran on 15 Nov 2019

With Halloween just around the corner, we wondered whether Deuce was a kind of Guy Fawkes in disguise planning to get into the basement below the current government and … No, enough of that … I scanned his (her?) clues to confirm that this apparently new Listener setter earns a place among the Listener Setters Oenophiles and sure enough found ‘Glasses swirled with essence of tequila – cucumbers in the drink? (8, two words)‘. That sounded quite hopeful (until we ‘swirled’ or anagrammed those GLASSES with (teq)U(ila) and found that the cucumbers were SEA SLUGS). Not an auspicious start but “Cheers!” anyway, Deuce. Hope we’ll see you at the bar at the next setters’ dinner – you will have the honour of the slugging.

Clue lengths told us which eight words were to be altered thematically before entry in the grid but those eight words were almost the last we entered. The ‘definition followed by its speaker (title and surname)’ appeared much sooner. “?REXIT? – surely not that!” said the other Numpty, but a moment later, there it was again ‘BREXIT MEANS BREXIT PM MAY’ and we had the theme after about an hour of solving.

The grid filled quickly now with a few smiles along the way. My favourite clue of the week was certainly ‘Neglected any one of the consonants in spelling “flan”?’ That gave us F or L or N didn’t it! Lovely.

BARNIER appeared next from those clashes and he seemed to be occupying the stars on the EU flag that we see being waved, daily, outside Westminster by Mr Loud. I was misled, here, by that word ‘analogous’ and imagined I had to mirror those stars in the other half of the grid. We already had those two, oh so popular politicians, FARAGE and JACOB REES MOGG in our grid but the penny didn’t drop immediately.

And I had cause to rejoice too, as it is almost two years since we said a sad goodbye to Poat’s little HARE who went off for his long holiday (and so many friends have wondered if he had really been shot) but  what a pleasure to see that he is safe, somewhere in Europe  (on the fifth row of the grid after Barnier is ousted – welcome back, little hare!)

We still had to alter those eight answers. D[EU]TERIUM came first, quickly followed by N[EU]ROLOGY, and when we realized that the D[UK]EDOMS were Cambridge and Edinburgh, all fell into place, with J[UK]EBOXES, L[UK]EWARM and GREAT A[UK]S abandoning the EU side of the grid, and R[EU]TERS and R[EU]NIONS being exiled from the UK. Thus we extracted the UK from BARNIER’s side of the grid and took the EU out of the clutches of FARAGE and REES-MOGG.

Well, many thanks to Deuce. (We are really wondering now who the D[EU]ce could be though it is fairly clear which side of the grid he belongs to – and does he believe he has been tricked or is in for a treat when all the shenanigans are over?) This was a gentle bit of fun and left us plenty of time to go to a lively bonfire birthday party at the Rugby Club in the neighbouring village – though there is driving rain and a howling gale in the Yorkshire Dales, where we are just now, and I suspect that the bonfire will not be lit and maybe not that other Westminster one either – if only!





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