Listen With Others

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Listener No 4612, Family Man: A Setter’s Blog by Duck

Posted by Listen With Others on 12 Jul 2020

When I go on a long holiday I often take a long book. Having heard about Buddenbrooks from an evening-class tutor when we were studying The Brothers Karamazov (which incidentally I had earlier read in Canada on a long holiday in 1976) I decided to take Thomas Mann’s novel with me on our Rhine cruise in 2019 — I was not disappointed.

I thought of a clue for Buddenbrooks to use in a crossword (one of those ‘obscurities’ to wind bloggers up) but then decided that I could spread that clue out in the clues of a Listener-type puzzle and hide the book and the author in the grid at the same time (highlighting is so important these days!). Originally I added an additional complication for answers intersecting the author’ s name, but it didn’t seem to work all that well with my initial test solver so I ditched it. I was aware that the vetters would find the puzzle on the easy side, but hoped that elegance of clueing would carry me through.

This old-fashioned Duck isn’t totally a Dead Duck just yet. He is still an occasional Listener solver but finds many modern Listeners too hard or too complex to be bothered with — especially as he spends so much time setting other puzzles. Duck can only hope that this entry-level Listener will have given a modicum amount of satisfaction to some. Doubtless the succeeding Listener puzzles will be much more satisfactory for the many wolves.

Happy solving!


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