Listen With Others

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From Here to There by Shenanigans

Posted by shirleycurran on 24 Jul 2020

This is the second time we have met Shenanigans and we expect a fair, well-clued puzzle. We note with pleasure the short preamble then see a new device that surprises us. ‘In 24 clues that are thematically placed in relation to the others, a word must be moved within the clue before solving.’ How often in the past have I kicked myself for not reading the preamble sufficiently carefully? Kick, kick, kick!

It is only now that, in counting and finding 49 clues, I notice that those extra words appeared in every alternate clue – of course, they ‘Go Between’. What a lot of time I could have saved if I had spotted that earlier! It would have eliminated a couple of bogus extra words (like ‘let’ in clue 14ac or ‘weird’ in 37d) and told us which clues to manipulate, saving us a bit of bickering.

Of course my initial scan of the clues confirmed Shenanigans’ place at the bar with ‘Abe signs for a round, possibly Abe’s last (5)’ We shift the first of those Abes and decide that it’s PRES Abe Lincoln and (Ab)E. Chambers tells me that PRESE is a symbol indicating where musicians must enter a round. Well, it sounds as though Shenanigans is signing for the bill for this round, so ‘Cheers, Shenanigans!’

There were lots of fine clues but two particularly pleased. ‘Wally losing it with empty drivel (7)’ was clearly going to be TWADDLE from the letters we had in place, so we decided the wally was a TIT, losing IT to give the T. ‘With’ gave the W and Chambers told us that ADDLE can mean ’empty’ – how subtle and concise.

Again we worked backwards from MAENAD (who but a crossword compiler ever uses that word?) to MA(d) = almost frantic and DANE< is the great dog going round. (As we hadn’t yet seen L P HARTLEY, we had a bicker about whether that ‘almost’ was a moving word). What was delightful was when ‘She’ (the MAENAD) dizzily (so anagrammed) chases tail of ‘youngisH’ … to produce HEADMAN ‘leader of the pack (7)’ with the doggy theme maintained.

We were expecting a sentence but we got ODQ L P HARTLEY THE GO-BETWEEN (Yes, I see that those letters ‘led to’ a sentence) and we didn’t need the ODQ for such a well-known opening sentence: ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there’.

Applying that, in two parts, to our grid resolved our last puzzle about an empty cell, ‘Master has odd way to serve King Edward (4)’ was referring to a potato, of course, and gave us MASH, which revealed THE PAST in the non-dominant diagonal. Only AUSTRIA would convert those words to ‘a different country, keeping all real words. (What did I say? I have just read the Listener notes on the puzzle and see that ASSYRIA – another ‘different country’ fulfilled the requirement, also producing real words and that the editors accepted that alternative too!)

We were left with THEY DO THINGS* which neatly filled our empty cells in 14 and 24 down, giving HOSTED and NIGHTY – an end game that was just sufficiently challenging. Many thanks to Shenanigans.



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