Listen With Others

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Listener No 4624: World-beating by Kea

Posted by Dave Hennings on 2 Oct 2020

[Warning: this blog contains political allusions which some readers may find disturbing. Ed.]

I was somewhat surprised that we had a Kea puzzle this week since it had been only a few months since his last, Tour de Force with its centrifugal Scrabble tiles. This week a jigsaw with clues in alphabetical order of their answers but with five answers needing replacing before entry.

But what was this title trying to tell us?! Was it going to test us before we had to trace something in the grid? I thought crosswrds were meant to allow us some refuge from our day-to-day problems. I was sure that once I was immersed in Kea’s puzzle, I’d be happier.

I got off to a flying start with the first clue Spicy dishes and rest retriever brought back (6) for BALTIS [(SIT + LAB)<]. It made a change not to have a slew of words beginning with A. Next came CHIGOE (tropical flea), DEFENCE (justification) and EGG BOX (container for fragile items). DEFENCE actually took me a bit of time since I stupidly thought of FENCE for enclosure following E for English and a D from somewhere?! Of course it was just DEF + ENC + E!

I got a fair smattering of clues on the first pass, including one of my favourites, clue 11 Having no sons, she assumes heavy old headgear (6) [(SHE ASSUMES) – every S] for HEAUME which had been in a puzzle only a few days before (can’t remember where). I’m not sure why it was a favourite, since the surface reading is quite bizarre.

I didn’t get the 12-letter answer at clue 6 (which didn’t have a straightforward grid entry) Misprinted fine chapter — binding is far cleaner (12) but clue 35, Old city bishop that is with Eminence: two for a start like St Peter’s blessing (10, three words) was URBI ET ORBI [UR + B + IE + TOR + BI-]. (Clue 6 would be DISINFECTANT [(FINE* + C) in DISTANT].)

Another visit of the clues and a few more were slotted into my list and it seemed time to start a grid fill. URBI ET ORBI went in first and the two Bs helped me to put it in the right place in row 7. That was followed by BAVINS, OVERT, BALTIS, TESSERA, TUT-TUT, TEVET, TRIVET and half a dozen others. So the bottom half of the grid was looking good, and it was when LADOOS finally went in that LAUGHTER in column 1 popped out.

Of course, laughter is the best MEDICINE (answer 17). One of the best cartoons I’ve seen recently was from Mac, where a woman is walking out of the house with a suitcase and leaving her husband on the doorstep: “I’m not going to be caught out again by lockdown. I’m moving in with my hairdresser.”

Eventually, the grid was complete. We had ATTACK is the best form of DEFENCE which most politicians do these days: never apologise, never take the blame and don’t even think about HONESTY being the best POLICY. EXPERIENCE is the best TEACHER, sadly lacking in many of today’s politicos. And lastly, not forgetting that SUNLIGHT is the best DISINFECTANT. I’ve never heard of that one; nor has Trump who thinks it is bleach!

Finally, four words to highlight, and with help from THE running NW–SE, I had no difficulty in finding SIX OF THE BEST thus confirming from the unclued entry that the best is YET TO COME. Marginally better would be a start!

Thanks for another fine puzzle, Kea.


One Response to “Listener No 4624: World-beating by Kea”

  1. Andrew Fisher said

    I liked the HEAUME clue a lot. The technique reminded me of Sabre’s ‘Aha! Orange Lada without its tax’ (for HORNGELD, hidden in the clue when all examples of A = IT are removed)

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