Listen With Others

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Listener No 4611: 24 Across by Merlin

Posted by Dave Hennings on 3 July 2020

Oh dear, it was Merlin week again! It had been a long time since his last puzzle back in 2012. That was based on Euler and the Königsberg bridge (No 4209, City Crossing Tour) and, according to my annual stats for that year, was a fail — despite ages on the endgame. A few years before that in 2006, I vividly remember how ye Olde Treasure Hunt, based on Sherlock Holmes and The Musgrave Ritual, also caused me grief. I hoped for better luck [This is the Listener! Ed.] this week.

There were clashes in 14 cells, which, “along with one other (to be determined)” needed to be left blank. I hoped that it wouldn’t need too much determination. The rest of the preamble sounded quite tricky with lines to be drawn, two 15-letter phrases being revealed and a question and answer relating to one of the phrases, the other of which needed to go under the grid. Lawks!

1ac was a nice start What goes in Fort? Group of soldiers, English not American (6), with Fort being a misprint for Ford. Unfortunately, PETROL had to wait to be solved before being entered. Luckily, 7ac Change chemical firm in matter of law (5) came to the rescue with firm for form.

A few more across clues came through in the first pass, but the downs started well with ETTIN, THECLA (solved that somewhere else the day before!), ADEEM, CLERIC, TYPICAL and WENS. All those enable OTHER-WORLDLY to be slotted in at 12ac and I was getting happier.

My favourite clues were 6dn Attack Attach island cut off from state (7) for CONNECT [CONNECTICUT – I – CUT] and of course Ecstasy taken by bleary Ringo ruined his maths’ mates’ number (12, two words) [E in (BLEARY RINGO)*] giving ELEANOR RIGBY. The trickiest for me was the thematic 24ac Wallop barrel not used for full round (4) where I kept trying to add a B or BL somewhere before realising that BARREL ROLL – BARREL was the ROLL I was looking for.

On to the endgame, and the Q&A spelt by the corrected misprints was Does eight down give hint to theme? Reverse. Thanks for that, Merlin!

So could I make anything of the ten lines somehow in four groups? “No” was the answer to that question, partly due to that pesky letter that wasn’t a clash. So I took to googling ‘Eleanor Rigby’, et voilà, it was a song from the film Yellow Submarine. Identifying that in the clashes enabled CHICKEN SANDWICH to pop out from the unused clashes.

Thus we had YELLOW = CHICKEN and SUBMARINE = SANDWICH. The shape that came from those phrases was FILM, which referred to both the movie and the plastic wrapping. Discarding the answer that was 8dn related, I wrote the food item in the space under the grid. Personally, I think the corrected misprints should have given Does twenty-four across give hint to theme? Yes.

What a lot came together neatly, and hopefully I got home error-free. Thanks, Merlin.

One Response to “Listener No 4611: 24 Across by Merlin”

  1. Alastair Cuthbertson said

    There was also Phi’s Solvitur Ambulando L3500 and Oyler’s The Konigsberg Bridges L3606 before L4209.

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