# Listen With Others

## Escape by Xanthippe

Posted by shirleycurran on 17 Jul 2020

Our first reaction was “What an original grid!” The preamble was original too, promising us riddles that we would need to solve to escape four rooms. We (U) began solving unsure whether those walls could be crossed by our symmetrical solution to the clues but it soon became clear, when BEER crossed one of them, that we could ignore them in our solve and pay attention to them when we were ultimately manoeuvering our way out of the rooms.

BEER? Yes indeed ‘Hoppy drink preferable – Tom’s not teetotal (4)’ gave us BETTER losing TT and producing an extra word ‘Tom’s’, so I need not worry about xanthippe’s retention of his admission ticket to the Listener Setter’s Oenophile Outfit, even if he feels BEER is preferable. Cheers, Xanthippe!

Xanthippe’s clues were all of that fair and generous kind and, as we had the good fortune to solve the four 12-letter ones early on, our grid fill was speedy. ‘Honour promise, don’t fire English weapon (12, three words)’ gave us the amusing KEEP ON (don’t fire) E SWORD.

Equally amusing and so clever was ‘Muddled how to make even 11? (5)’ The answer to that last clue that we solved had ro be ADDLE and we smiled when we realized that if we ADD LE, we convert EVEN to ELEVEN.

We are not very good at finding redundant words in clues. I think we solve too quickly without justifying every word, so that we had some rather incomplete riddles to solve and needed a supper break before we scanned our clues more carefully to get:

ALWAYS COMING: NOT ARRIVING

WHERE TOM’S IN WORK WITH POTTER BUT CLAY NEVER GETS BAKED

TALL WHEN YOUNG: SHORT WHEN OLD

BARRED CELLS – HERE PRISONERS DON’T ENTER.

I could see that the answer to the last one was CROSSWORD – a self-referential comment on our barred cell grids that aren’t the kind that prisoners are kept in (well, yes, admitted, we do spend some frustrating, head-scratching hours trapped in the things but …) and that led us out of the grid at the bottom cell, so the U could go there (or does he become I or ME?) and that established his starting point in the room above and there he was, pointing us at TOMORROW.

From the start, the other Numpty had been saying “Tom Riddle, he’s in a work with Harry Potter” but I hadn’t taken it on board and CHAMBER OF SECRETS was the last solution to be entered after CANDLE had shown us where it ended. I am told these are familiar children’s riddles that appear on the Internet and of course, there they are. I should have asked a five-year old.

I drew U’s ‘complete’ path, crossing all the cell borders from his original position to his final external cell but was then left with. a nagging doubt. He has escaped, so I imagine we have to remove him from his original position – or have we?

Many thanks to Xanthippe for a different and entertaining puzzle.

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