Listen With Others

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Listener No 4607: Observe the Globe by Awinger

Posted by Dave Hennings on 5 June 2020

Awinger’s second Listener this week, his first being last year’s Joint Conditions where there were clashes galore which resolved to the abbreviations for US states. Clashes again here, although only in nine cells. Two messages would be revealed by the nine across and nine down clues, each of which had an extra word.

After four clues, I had a horrible feeling that we were in the world of football. In 1ac Harry Kane’s side wanting headers from Dele Alli’s moves (5), I recognised the name Harry Kane as a footballer (Spurs), but needed the interweb to see that Dele Alli was also one (also Spurs). A nice clue to start with as was 14ac FA advise Pele to eschew energy drink (6), initially unsolved since FA turned out to be an extra word.

Initially, progress was slow. This was partly hindered by my forgetting “Numbers in brackets are the lengths of grid entries” which implied that the clashes involved more than just two letters, one across and one down. Once I got over that hurdle, I still wondered what was going on. That is, until I had OVERT/NE at 23ac/8dn and EVERTON seemed a likely anagram rather than OVERNET.

Unlike some other bloggers, alcoholism on the part of Listener setters doesn’t faze me. However, I couldn’t help noticing a lot of sporty references from Awinger. We had baseball at 26ac Belts hard into first base, then second (6) [BASHES], cricket at 40ac Tourists total 200 among wild tigresses (8) [SIGHTSEERS, (10) pre-clashes and total an extra word] and Formula 1 in 42ac Saw circuits air F1 wins, perhaps (4) [MOTORSPORT, (10) pre-clashes and wins an extra word]. Elsewhere, we had ski jumping from Norway and golf from the late, great Seve.

Before finishing the across clues, I managed to suss that the extra words spelt out Recent FA Cup winners. First letter of total wins. What a neat way of reducing all those clashes to a single letter and revealing extra words to boot. The extra words in the down clues weren’t quite that obvious though since they contributed to part-words in the message. Thus Seve, NY, ear, sag, Oman, aged, Chai, Reds’, cored actually gave Seven years ago: managed, chaired, scored.

Google to the rescue to reveal the number of wins for nine FA Cup winners with Wigan Athletic winning their one and only FA Cup final in 2013 with Manager MARTINEZ, Chairman WHELAN and scorer WATSON. All three were to be highlighted in the grid although I wasn’t sure whether they were marking out the penalty box or the goal mouth. The O for the ball (representing One win) needed an X through it to represent, I assume, the Spot the Ball newspaper competitions, hence this puzzle’s title. (I never entered those, but when I was a kid, it was staggering what bizarre positions the judges sometimes placed the X for the ball. But then, what do I know about football?)

Thanks for a neatly constructed and entertaining puzzle, Awinger.
 

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