Listen With Others

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Right-wing Majority by Ifor

Posted by shirleycurran on 6 November 2020

Ifor’s preamble gave us no hint at all about his theme though with the US elections coming up, we did wonder whether there was a political significance. I had to read through the entire set of clues to. confirm his continued membership of the Listener setters’ elite oenophile outfit – and at the end I found the red. ‘Red cross marks source of rubber (4)’ We ultimately decided that the ‘red’ was the word we had to remove (it was going to be an anagram indicator for ONE’S S[un] AGAIN, which, later on would give us OGANESSIAN – the Russian nuclear physicist who discovered OGANESSON) and that gave us M + ULE (the rubber-producing tree, and the cross, a MULE). So with that rather sparse red, ‘Cheers, Ifor!”

The words going into our grid appeared with more ease than Ifor’s clues sometimes do but we had a second set of solving to do of the mini clues produced by those extra words and we teased out SUN from the first five: EVERY SECOND PART FROM [i]S[s]U[i]N[g].

The second set simply said MINE WATER SHOWS and we decided that a hidden word, NEW, was being indicated.

Then we found INVITE OUT KEEPING ADVANCED COMMAND PAPER. We anagrammed INVITE and put A[dvanced] and C[ommand paper] into it and found INACTIVE

Next came HOTEL NOTE DIED ERRONEOUSLY INSIDE. We put an anagram of DIED into H[otel] N[ote] and found HIDDEN.

STRANGER followed from MORE MARKED ORIENTEERS ORIGINALLY BECOMING ABSENT. (We had to change the O[Rrienteers to A[bsent] in ‘stronger’.

FEARFUL SCOTTISH (that was RAD) ONE UNITED MASS gave us RADIUM, and, of course, we found OGANESSIAN.

It was the other Numpty who had the ‘aha’ moment. “Those are the sources of the names of what used to be called the INERT gases – they are the NOBLE gases of group 18 in the modern table of elements: He, Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe, Rn and Og, so we have Helium from Helios the sun, Neon from new, Xeno- for strange, Argon the Greek word for inactive, and so on.

We had eight down solutions that produced no extra words and one of those, INERT, was clearly going to become NOBLE maintaining real words, so it was left for us to insert the symbols for those elements into the remaining seven and sure enough GUARDS became GURNARDS, TAMES became TAXEMES, MILITIA became MILITARIA, SALIAN became SAHELIAN, GAMBIAN was GAMBOGIAN, BANATE – BANKRATE, and PHOTC – PHONETIC. Astonishing that Ifor could find all of those and even more astonishing that he managed to place them in the grid so that they formed 18! What a compilation!

(Ah, the 18? Well that’s the age of majority in the UK isn’t it and those noble gases do form the right wing of the table.)

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