Listen With Others

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Listener 4619, Artistic Licence: A Setter’s Blog by Serpent

Posted by Listen With Others on 30 Aug 2020

I can’t remember how I became aware of the court case in America involving Ulysses or Justice Woolsey’s ruling. I do remember being rather taken by Woolsey’s phrase “His locale was Celtic, his season spring”. I decided to try to make use of the phrase and have ULYSSES and JOYCE appear in the final grid. Given the context, OBSCENE NOVEL seemed a reasonable phrase to include in the initial grid-fill.

The grid-fill turned out to be easier that I expected, so I thought it might be nice include WOOLSEY in the grid. In retrospect, I’m not sure having WOOLSEY replace ROUTINE was a good idea — I was forced to include some more obscure words; ROUTINE is underchecked; and there isn’t a good thematic justification for the replacement — perhaps I should have hidden him in the grid somewhere instead.

In the absence of a specifically thematic clue gimmick, I like solvers to extract a message from the clues, rather than the answers, preferably using misprints or extra letters. Unfortunately, there were too many characters to accommodate in a character-per-clue gimmick, so I split the phrase and the context. I hadn’t realised how difficult it was going to be to write a clue that includes a superfluous V, eventually settling on (v)indicated, hoping that the editors wouldn’t object to an extra letter in a link word. (They didn’t.) They did, however, object to my attempt to sneak in the following clue: Mass of oz[one] about to rise high into the atmosphere [(M O OZ)<].

Thanks are due to Shane and Roger for making a number of suggestions to improve the preamble and clues. Thanks also to everyone who provided comments and feedback.


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