Listen With Others

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L4590: Bros by Vismut

Posted by Encota on 7 Feb 2020

Those like me who know more about The Durrells from the TV show of the same name might have found this fairly straightforward. [I did visit Gerald’s Zoo on Jersey back in the 1970s too – way ahead of its time!]

Lawrence, the poet and his younger brother Gerry (Gerald) the trainee zoo-keeper, with Keeley Hawes thrown in for good measure … Anyway, where was I?

The leading diagonal initially contained SURNAME and the eleven letters from the Down clues spelt out A FAMILY NAME. With the final name needing to be ?UR???? it could only be these guys!

It turns out that their writing cited both contain “PLACE”: FILLETS OF PLAICE (by) GERALD and, from LAWRENCE, SPIRIT OF PLACE. Both 21 letters, which all fits neatly.

It might have just been me? I initially spelt the soup on the top line as BORSCHT. However, when this needed TECTONICS at 8d to begin with an S, I was temporarily worried: would the puzzle have unannounced clashes?? If yes, it’ll be much harder than first envisaged!

Luckily, with the help of the BRB, I realised I had BORTSCH as a possible spelling too, so quickly fixed that!

The misprints were fun to find, with some nice deception or, at least, options. In 36a’s:

Sparing less food, treated muscle injury (6)

.. the answer looked near certain to be SPRAIN, with the G being dropped from SPARIN(g) before jumbling. I incorrectly guessed that ‘food’ in the clue was a misprint for ‘foot’, which I thought might constitute a last_letter_indicator, even in an Across clue. However, when it came to using letters to spell out hidden the authors and titles above, this provided only gobbledygook. I then spotted the much better alternative of ‘food’ changing to ‘good’, hence indicating that the G was to be dropped and all was well.

A fun and gentle puzzle – my thanks go to Vismut.


Tim / Encota


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