Listen With Others

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Square Deal? by Tiburon

Posted by shirleycurran on 10 Jan 2020

Tiburon! We greet that with a smile as we are accustomed to having clues tweaked by the Listener editor so can be pretty sure that his will be beyond reproach, but then the second half of the relatively lengthy pre-ramble has us taking a deep breath. We are being instructed to dissect our completed grid into pieces and to rearrange them with complicated details about what unclued letters must be matched. It’s likely to be Christmassy isn’t it? Reindeer or something? Trees have been done before, I find a Christmas tree by Rasputin (who he?) on Dave Hennings’ Crossword database, among others, but it could be that or a snowflake or a Christmas animal? There was a lovely snowflake to be cut out some years ago. We begin to solve.

I search rather despairingly for an appropriate dash of Christmas spirits to confirm that Tiburon retains his Listener Oenophile entry ticket to the dinner. Well, the Stratford event wouldn’t be the same without him would it? However, it seems to be a rather dry crossword – until, that is, we solved 15ac ‘Raised distress signal up the pole (5)’

By the time we got to that clue, we had understood about putting two letters into one cell and using the diagonal line in the correct direction so that ELUSORY and SOUSED could both be read in the right order (and by an astonishing stroke of luck, I had them all facing the right way to aid my cutting up of the grid).

SOUSED is ‘up the pole’, Chambers tells me and that is extremely sozzled. What can I say? Cheers, Tiburon!

We don’t find this solve easy at all and have been solving for a couple of hours before we read the preamble properly and understand about the double letters, so that we can make ARBITRATOR intersect with SPEAR with the A and R sharing a cell, VIBRATO intersect with AMENTA with the AT of one becoming the TA of the other and so on. We know that we have to find nine of these and struggle in the south-west corner to find our ninth, even though the clue to ANTSY is generous, ‘Excited tourists on vaction in New York (4)’ giving us NY around T(ourist)S with an unclued A. I had been attempting to make that ‘monitor’ an IGUANA rather than the VARAN he turned out to be.

We should have seen far sooner that the corrected misprints were instructing us to TANGRAM something. Well, I chop the grid along the lines indicated by the diagonal marks, then, with a cry of delight, fit them altogether and realise that one of our editors has, at last, after a couple of years, located the elusive Poat hare. What a Christmas treat.

Then disillusion sets in as the remaining corrected misprints spell O TANNENBAUM. That isn’t a hare is it? My small grandson was singing that with his school choir a couple of weeks ago when we were with them in California (he’s in a German/English International School). He was drowned out by the four-year-old’s rendering of ‘Let It Go’ from the Disney Frozen but I suppose we have to move with the times).

Back to the cutting and gluing.

A moment of trepidation. How do we tangram a Christmas tree? Of course, I have recourse to my old friend Wiki who shows me one example – and, though I am not sure that we have found all the correct unclued letters, that instruction about the three Es tells me which way up to put the tub so that the soil doesn’t spill all over the presents (and a rather disconsolate hare who thought he was the star of the show).

A rather higgledy-piggledy MERRY CHRISTMAS appears and I highlight it.

Delightfu! Many thanks to Tiburon.



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