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Listener No 4628: Keyworker by Harpy

Posted by Dave Hennings on 30 Oct 2020

The last Harpy Listener was back in 2016 with AE Housman’s A Shropshire Lad as its theme. That said, Inquisitor no. 1666 last month was by Harpy all about the Great Fire of MDCLVI. This week, every clue contained a misprint somewhere, not necessarily in the definition. Some don’t like these, but I do. Lots going on in the endgame, with only a circle requiring to be drawn (I hoped).

5ac STRAIGHT, 11ac RELY and 12ac AIRBUS got the top of the grid off to a flying start. 1ac Cheeky sappers displacing first person in line, for instance (5) would have to wait for a few minutes although FRESH seemed likely; the misprint would be line for ling resulting in FISH with RE for I.

Giving the downs a go, I got 2 RENT, 3 ELLIS (even though I didn’t know E Bronte’s pseudonym was Ellis Bell), 7 AUKLETS and 9 HOOT. 15ac WORKSHOP and 13dn CHASER enabled most of the top to be finished fairly quickly. The famous person revealed by the misprints started Grig… which had me baffled.

Slowly but surely, I worked my way down the grid and eventually uncovered Grigori Rasputin, not that I could see why he should be a “Keyworker”. The cryptic clue would have to wait until the grid was complete, but not before some fun clues were solved, including:

31ac Clothing of unhip punk was revolting (6) — U(nhi)P + ROSE (pink). 35dn Ford’s audit is including annual return (5) — INC + AR (definition Ford’s audio is). And show me the way to the Garlic festival mentioned in 21dn!

The cryptic clue revealed at the end was Orchestrating has messed up a tune of his but the preamble had us carry out some fiddly changes first. It didn’t take long to see FELONIOUS MONK running NW–SE to describe the devillish Russian, and even less time to identify the true thematic subject, THELONIOUS MONK, the American jazz pianist. Memory is probably not serving me well, but I’m sure I saw him on BBC tv over 50 years ago on Not Only… But Also…, the programme made famous by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. (The interweb fails to confirm this.)

Anyway, flipping the F to TH made new words THRESH and THRILLS. A quick google revealed the three compositions we needed to identify as Round MIDNIGHT (to be circled in the lower left), Blue MONK requiring the block of four to be coloured accordingly, and STRAIGHT, No CHASER requiring CHASER at 13dn to be erased. This was the answer to the cryptic clue, an anagram of orchestrating has. Finally, expanding the blue colouring of MONK enabled his middle name, Sphere, to be represented.

Thanks for a fun puzzle, Harpy.


One Response to “Listener No 4628: Keyworker by Harpy”

  1. Alan B said

    I found the clues for this puzzle quite tough: for many and probably most of them it took longer to find the rogue letter than to get the answer. However, I enjoyed solving them, and I managed to get a complete grid and a complete set of letters.
    With GREGOR formed from the first six clues and the word MONK formed in a square near the SE corner, I thought at first the subject would be Gregor Mendel (who was a monk among other things), but of course the letters of MENDEL would not obligingly come out of the relevant clues.
    Instead I got the name Grigori Rasputin and a clue to something (one of his titles?), but I could make no sense of the clue beyond seeing a highly probable anagram. I found Felonious Monk in the grid but got no further as I didn’t understand parts of the preamble.
    I know nothing about the jazz musician, except for the way his name has been made into the mock-humorous nickname for Rasputin. I would have had to look everything up if I had got past that first hurdle.
    I have a vivid recollection of Harpy’s recent Inquisitor puzzle, themed on the Great Fire of London (actually in MDCLXVI), which I rate as one of the best themed puzzles this year, and I would like to see Harpy’s name again.

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