Listen With Others

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Listener No 4601: The Name of the Game by Chalicea

Posted by Dave Hennings on 24 April 2020

It has only been nine months since Chalicea’s last Listener with its Brucie Boy and Bannockburn theme. This week we had a carte blanche with a final grid that was almost 180° symmetric. I’m not sure I’ve seen that spelt out in a preamble before.

Nine clues had to have a word removed before solving with a message given by the initial letters of the word either side. In the final grid, an area bounded by a name would need shading — in the conventional colour, and not too much I hoped — together with three items.

As you may know, Chalicea is a member of the Gin Worshipping Ring but tries not to reveal that in her clues. However, she frequently, and sub-consciously, introduces alcohol to her entries. Here, every one had a shot or two (or more) of GIN & TONIC. Some were quite blatant, such as KINGDOM and OVERBOOOKING. One was just neat gin — GLEEMAIDEN. Shame on you, Chalicea.

Back to the puzzle, and we had a fairly straightforward solve, although the link between the extra clue words didn’t jump out at me: red, Jenny, cannon, eccentric, nurse, white, kiss, pills, yellow. However, the two entries that made the grid slightly unsymmetrical (9dn and 25dn) were LONDON and BRISTOL.

A bit of googling was still required to find out how BILLIARD TABLE linked the two. At first, I wondered whether Brunel and his engineers used Maidenhead Bridge as a large snooker hall before the tracks were laid. Sadly not! Because the track was so straight and level from Paddington to Swindon and beyond, it was referred to as Brunel’s Billiard Table.

ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL could be found in the grid marking out a billiard table with letters O for the White, Red and Yellow balls. Lucky for Chalicea, a yellow ball is now used rather than a white ball marked with a black spot. Who knows how that could have been an extra word in the clues! Lots of green shading was required at the end, not any of the bizarre greys, blues, oranges and reds that I saw in Google images.

Another gentle puzzle, thanks Chalicea.
 

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