Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

If P Then Q? by Mr E

Posted by shirleycurran on 9 Oct 2020

Two solvers have commented to me that, in the past, they have found Mr E’s Listener puzzles difficult – one even said that he had never managed to finish one (until this one). We found this one tough to start but had the pleasure of finding that it grew far easier once ALL those pennies had dropped.

Yes, of course I scanned the clues to check that Mr E still qualifies for membership of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Elite and his first comment was somewhat alarming! ‘Drinkers frequently are sickly being morally weak (5)’. We used FR + AIL and decided to remove the ‘drinkers’ from that one giving us an extra third letter (interesting device!) of an I.

The rather negative ALKIE comments continued with ‘Missing start and finish, saw old movies drunk (5)’. We removed the start and finish fromTALKIES to get our ALKIE and decided that ‘saW’ gave us an extra W. Then we had ‘The old advise you, American whisky stinks (6)’. We put REDE and YE together to give REDEYE (the American whisky) and used the I of ‘stInks’ as the extra letter. Well, despite the morally weak alkie, drinking stinking American whisky, I think we can raise a glass to Mr E. Cheers!

The pennies were dropping. We had entered G[ALL]IVANT, RE[ALL]OCATE, R[ALL]IER and H[ALL]DOOR and realized that the other lights that were not producing real words must also need that ALL removing. This gave us CAB[ALL]INE (not the rather inappropriate CANINE that the light seemed to be suggesting), RASC[AL-L]ike (we played with RASCALLISH and RASCALLION at first, but Chambers doesn’t have ‘rascallish’), CENTR[ALL]Y, ESC[ALL]ONIA and COR[ALL]ION (a couple of new words for us). Many of the other clues gave us extra letters and soon we were able to read that ‘ALL IS NOT LOST – WHERE IS IT?’ We added that to the title and asked ourselves indeed ‘If all is not lost, then where is it?

We briefly wondered whether this was an unfortunate COVID comment since that nasty word had appeared in row 9, balanced by a potential INTIL in row 4. I wonder whether the editors decided to put those bars in, giving us INTI and the ancient poet OVID rather than a depressing COVID clue!

Full grid and ALL we had to do was to obey the instructions about drawing lines to answer the question ‘Where is ALL?’ – of course, there it is in the grid. Very nice, thank you Mr E!


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