Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Potatoes by JFD

Posted by shirleycurran on 20 Dec 2019

This looks like a new Listener setter and he (she?) gives us a succinct preamble with that oh-so-familiar ‘In each clue the wordplay leads to an extra letter that is not entered in the grid; these letters spell out a piece of advice given in a literary work, followed by the author’s name.’

One small addition – that we have to heed that advice when entering certain answers – and finally we have to highlight the nine-letter name of the recipient of the advice.

Of course I have to check whether this newcomer gains admission to the Listener setters’ oenophile elite and he leaves me with some doubt on my first read-through of the clues. There’s Polynesian spirit, ‘Island of the French Polynesian spirit (4)’ and we parse that as AIT + [D]U nd find AITU but that seems to be a demigod rather than a drop of the hard stuff. There’s a jug though; ‘To record nightingale’s last jug (4)’ [T]O + LP + (nightingal)E, giving us OLPE. a Greek jug. Greek wines get better and better – we had some fine ones when we were with our Greek sister-in-law this summer – (of course, when we had found the quotation and the IVRESSE – drunkenness – it became clear that our new setter had consumed the entire contents of the OLPE) so ‘Cheers! JFD.

As we solve, we begin to wonder whether the JF of JFD is Jean-François, as a French message is emerging as well as the occasional French word (ETRENNE, GRANDE). We need the last four extra letters that spell out GIDE before we are able to ask Google to complete the quotation: NATHANAEL, QUE TOUTE EMOTION SACHE TE DEVENIR UNE IVRESSE.

We learn that the quotation comes from Gide’s Les Nourritures Terrestres (Earthly Fare) so, with a smile, understand why the puzzle is entitled ‘Potatoes’

That quotation is pretty advanced French with the subjunctive ‘sache’ but I imagine the context resolved that for solvers whose French stopped at O level, say. It was clear that the emotion words, SADNESS, ANGER, DISGUST and FEAR had to be anagrammed, or fuddled in a drunken way. We did that and highlighted the nine-letter name and had a welcome early finish (as we are still ‘grandparenting’ in California and have the culturally enriching experience of Disney’s Frozen II with the four and six-year-old this afternoon).

Later: Frozen II exceeded expectations – certainly superior to Frozen – almost fun in places.


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