Listen With Others

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Listener No 4632: Heads and Tails by JFD

Posted by Dave Hennings on 27 Nov 2020

JFD’s first Listener was last year and had André Gide’s The Fruits of the Earth as its theme with every emotion becoming an intoxication. This week, we had eight clues with an extra word, the rest having a misprint in the definition with the wrong letters giving an extract from literature, and we were even told that it was “in the fourth of its 15 parts”. Almost certainly I would note down the correct letter in a few cases since that was the norm.

I was fairly slow in solving the across clues, although I was chuffed to get 13ac Minute coin in the Forum makes three sums in the Agora (5) (with extra word three) giving MINAS. A long pause before 23ac What sadly could be the end of ICI (4) gave THAW although I thought shouting ICE was a bit OTT! 29ac just below gave DEMO and revealed another extra word, characters.

A few more acrosses went in (not many), and the downs were almost as reluctant to be forthcoming. I suspect that was because there were some devious little misprints lurking. Fairly soon, 1ac Difficulty with changing colour of coreless pearl in artwork (12) beginning SE… went in as SELF-PORTRAIT — extra word colour, STRAIT about (OF + PE(a)RL)*. Things sped up a little then.

Those that know me (if only from these blogs) will not be surprised that my favourite clue was 6dn Internationals including English goalies? (6) with goalies being the misprint for goolies to give TESTES. I also liked 24dn We British stand for one in a winding sheet? More like a bog roll made of paper (7) — WE + B + BIER with bog becoming big. One of the trickier clues was 5dn Old call for help, upending half of Arabian wine (7) giving OMAYYAD — wine for line and O + MAYDAY with the second half inverted!

Eventually, we had the wrong letters (once a wrong correct letter was corrected) giving: She that in wisdom never was so frail. Othello. The fourth of its fifth parts now made sense since most Shakespearean plays have five Acts, each with three Scenes. This was needed since the extract is not in the ODQ. Scanning the relevant scene soon revealed the next line as “To change the cod’s head for the salmon’s tail”.

Thus three Cs in the grid had to change to Ns, one being in the bottom row to enable HANDKERCHIEF to be completed. Except that would need an N changing to a C, so that and another got swapped as well.

The extra words in the clues gave Colour three characters and dropped cloth connecting them. Well the handkerchief was obviously the dropped cloth, and a quick check of the grid revealed IAGO in row 4. So that was one character in the play, and having changed the Cs and Ns, there were CASSIO in row 3 and DESDEMONA in row 7. It appears that a handkerchief plays an important, but no doubt metaphoric, role in the relationship between the three.

Thanks, JFD.


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