Listen With Others

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Ahead of the Game by Apt

Posted by shirleycurran on 1 May 2020

It is Easter weekend so we were vaguely expecting something Eastery – eggs, rabbits, chickens, say and after a very speedy solve (the other Numpty was solving so fast that I could barely keep up with filling the grid and colour coding which clashing letters were down and which were across) he disappeared to cook supper and left me working out the endgame.

I admit that I did that, as I so often do, in reverse, spotting the rabbit in the top row, so hunting for a symmetrical animal in the bottom row and, of course, finding the duck, which rang a bell and sent me to Wiki where I found what I was looking for.

It that point, I had a strange MOUKED at 15 across which clashed with SHMEK at 15d but didn’t quite produce the rabbit I was trying to draw and the letters didn’t anagram to the two phrases we needed. Of course, the Pet was ‘Hon’, giving HONKED, so all was well producing letters that spelled A QUICK PLUNGE for DUCK, and TALK AT LENGTH for RABBIT. Thank you Big Red Book, why didn’t I go there straight away?

When I could catch my breath, I had naturally spotted that Apt was doing his best to retain admission to the Listener Setters Oenophile Elite, producing a barrel and a vat: ‘Space either side of barrel with a decoration inlaid (7)’ giving us B(arre)L with EM on each side and A for EMBLEMA, and ‘Unfinished metal vat is not so watertight (7)’ givng LEA(d) + KIER = LEAKIER. Cheers Apt!

My only doubt was whether I should join the first and last letters of those two messages, making a line that looped its way round the duck/rabbit’s head, or do what some of the examples on the Internet do and leave both ends of the line dangling. I decided that either way had created the rabbit/duck and the word ‘through’ in the pre-ramble suggested that the line had to pass through the cells – so I joined them up.

The title made sense now, if you consider rabbits and ducks to be ‘game’.

Of course ‘i’ suggested an eye so I added that finishing touch. Very nice, Apt, thank you.

There was one lovely Easter egg. We had no doubt at all that the little fellow disguised as a rabbit was our old friend Poat’s hare back from rather lengthy hols in Blackpool and despite Poat’s attempt to shoot him last time he appeared in one of  his grids. Welcome back, little hare!

 

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