Listen With Others

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Listener No 4627: Flappy by Shark

Posted by Dave Hennings on 23 Oct 2020

Last year’s Shark puzzle had Benjamin Franklin almost getting struck by lightning. I remember that the endgame required some artwork involving a kite, a key, a piece of string and a Leyden jar. Straight lines connecting it all did the trick but this week it looked as though the endgame would be more arty with curved lines needing to be drawn. Before that, we certainly had some tough clueing to unravel. They all had an extra word to be removed, and those words all had something in common.

First clue 12ac Guard for player’s bounce over batsman (3) was obviously BOX. Except the wordplay didn’t fit, so PAD [DAP<] it was with batman the extra word. 15 came next with ENOW and e/w scrapping followed by 16 SOM with extra word reply. Obviously, the meanings of the extra words wasn’t the common factor.

Colonel BLIMP without the M came next at 20 Glitch filming cartoon character loses millions (4), e/w filming and then a long gap before 42, Hide murder the Mafia embraces (5) for DERMA with, innocuously, e/w the.

Onto the downs, and they were equally unforgiving but a few got slotted in. I then made a list of the extra words that I had to date and stared for a few minutes. Systematically extracting a letter from each word could cover a multitude of sins. I think it was rely, filming and dudes that helped me get there. The extra words without their middle letters all remained words.

I was still not home though since the middle letters that I had didn’t really seem to make sense. Nothing for it but to plough on until, eventually, the grid was complete. The last one in was 40ac Islander to assist cocky unclad swimmer (6) which was obviously SARDEL, not a partial anagram of islander but SARD + (h)EL(p) with cocky as the e/w.

I pretty much had to solve all the clues before I could see what we were dealing with. My first reaction was “Didn’t we do butterflies a few weeks ago?” with Brock’s Kew Knowledge. Of course, that was actually about the Rev Spooner rather than butterflies. And it wasn’t too long before I saw that Peacock was hidden in bible in the down clues’ extracted letters. So this wasn’t really about butterflies either, but butterflies in the stomach.

The four examples provided by the clues were as above plus skipper in rumen, Monarch in king’s-hood and Heath in maw.

The bottom row was soon revealed as BRIMSTONE in READ, and the three other examples in rows 2, 4 and 11 were ADMIRAL in PAUNCH, PAPILIO in BONNET and VANESSA in FARDEL.

The final step was drawing a butterfly through CARDINAL in both sides of the grid, drawing an oval around FLY in the central column and then filling in the two Os in row 3 and joining them to the body. Perhaps it was about butterflies after all especially with that title. Except Chambers gives it as “in a state of nervousness or panic”.

Fantastic puzzle thanks, Shark.


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