Listen With Others

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Listener No 4600: Polygram by Opsimath

Posted by Dave Hennings on 17 Apr 2020

Listener number two from Opsimath this week, following on from his first last year with its Byron, Bridge of Sighs and Rio di Palazzo theme. This week, extra words in eight down clues would tell us how to treat twelve symmetrically-placed cells. It was nice to be told so much about where things were in the grid and the clues. Numbers in brackets were entry lengths, so either some squeezing, or perhaps omission, of letters was likely to be required.

6ac Award local man in California shared (7) for COMMUNAL made it likely we had to squeeze some letters into a cell so I tackled the crossing downs to see what was likely. 6dn One Mama is a cordial type (6) revealed that Opsimath was probably of my generation, with Mama CASS plus IS going in. MOLA, NAPOO and AITS for 7/8/9dn enabled the MU in 6ac being the affected letters and that could only be one thing — Greek.

Going back to the acrosses, a fair few more got slotted in on first reading. It soon became likely that all the Greek letters (well, twelve of them at least) were going to appear in unchecked cells. Perhaps it would have added a bit of trickiness if the wordplay had omitted those letters, but heigh-ho.

The ambiguity of how to enter the Greek letters didn’t occur to me until the eight extra words were extracted from the down clues: Insert lower case Greek letters from Chambers’ appendix. I particularly liked the long entries RES[TAU]RANT CAR and ON TENTE[RHO]OKS, as well as S[OMEGA]TE.

Very satisfying, thanks Opsimath.
PS Sadly, Sir Stirling Moss died this week, aged 90.


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