Listen With Others

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Key Worker by Harpy

Posted by shirleycurran on 30 Oct 2020

Harpy! We’ve had only two Harpy Listener crosswords before, but I believe Harpy is a pairing of two very familiar setters. The preamble tells us that, as well as spotting a famous person and solving a cryptic clue spelled out by corrected misprints in every clue, we will be finding three of the person’s ‘titles’ and drawing in our grid to represent his middle name.

There’s a lot to take in there. Misprints often stand out as rather glaring anomalies in clues but, as I scan the clues for the inevitable proof of membership of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit, I realize that this skilful couple has hidden them in some  very subtle ways. But the alcohol is there. ‘Six bananas and seven tots (6)’ gives us a misprint producing SOTS and, when we have solved clue 6 and got TROPE (+7 = S), we anagram that (bananas) and find that they are TOPERS. Fortunately it’s malt, five clues on, ‘Sicily town’s pasta sauce with malt halved (6)’ We back-solve the wordplay, later on, to find that the malt became salt, giving RAGU + SA.

Later on too, of course, we find ‘STRAIGHT NO CHASER’ as one of the thematic titles, and have to delete the CHASER from our grid and that just leaves STRAIGHTs for those TOPERS. Cheers, Harpy!

We solve steadily and the last half of the message emerges; ORCHESTRATING HAS MESSED UP TUNE OF HIS, so together with the title ‘Key Worker’, we have a hint that this is about a musician. Anagramming ORCHESTRATING (messing it up) gives us that STRAIGHT NO CHASER, but, sadly our knowledge of jazz is very limited and we have produced a rather strange FELONIOUS MONK in our leading diagonal and GREGORI RASPUTIN as a famous person spelled out by our first misprints. He wasn’t much of a musician!

Then it all falls into place and we change the first cell of our grid, maintaining real words with FRESH FRILLS becoming THRESH THRILLS and FELONIOUS becoming THELONIOUS – Nice. Wiki gives us two more titles; ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT, and BLUE MONK, so we draw our circle throught the letters of MIDNIGHT and colour the four letters of MONK blue. Our square monk has to depict his middle name by becoming a SPHERE. Many thanks Harpy. Another fine compilation that has been a learning experience for us.


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