Listen With Others

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Listener No 4618: You Don’t Say by Stick Insect

Posted by Dave Hennings on 21 Aug 2020

Last year’s Stick Insect puzzle was the one celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing. This week, we had a fairly small 11×11 grid with a couple of couplets by a poet (should that be a coupler?) to appear one after the other in the perimeter. Every clue had a misprint not in the definition, with the incorrect letters spelling out some information about aforementioned poet. The odds were on my making a note of the misprint correction in at least one clue. (It would be just one.)

After the first pass through the clues, I had a fair smattering of entries in the grid, including SEROTINES (bats) and STRONGEST (fastest-moving). Although the absence of anything in the perimeter upped the uncheck count, I had a finished diagram in about an hour.

The perimeter I now had was •I•E•E•S•W•P•R•LECO••NE•ER•O•E••S•EO•EB•. We were given the unchecked letters as RAVEN PUT UP WITH AVON, and with P•R•LECO•• on the right-hand side, I guessed at PURPLE COW with a niggle at the back of my mind that I had heard this before. (In hindsight, I hadn’t.) I determined not to google that, and it didn’t take long to fill in the blanks to give the two lines we were looking for. My first inkling was that the poet was either Spike Milligan or Billy Connelly.

However, taking the message from the misprints, we had He is responsible for creating blurb. Chambers has blurb attributed to American author, Gelett Burgess (never heard of him before), and the ODQ obligingly has the two verses required, the first called The Purple Cow and the second Confessional.

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one!

Ah, yes, I wrote the ‘Purple Cow’—
I’m sorry, now, I wrote it!
But I can tell you anyhow,
I’ll kill you if you quote it!

(Personally, I’m sorry he wrote it too!)

Slotting the first lines of the second into the grid (having the required number of letters to fill the perimeter) didn’t leave real words. I could see that 11ac EMBER could simply become AMBER to start off the two lines and I was home.

Thanks for a relatively gentle week, Stick Insect.


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