Listen With Others

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Two Listeners in One by eXtent

Posted by shirleycurran on 18 Dec 2020

That pseudonym suggests two editors to us (a combination of one of the Magpie team and the EV editor) so we suspect that there is going to be some subtle cluing and indeed there is. Because of Covid 19, we have sadly been told that there won’t be the usual January Magpie gathering (in the Magpie – where else?) but  a number of us still raise our glasses during Zoom crossword gatherings. Does this pair qualify to retain places at the bar (or in front of the screen) in the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit. The other Numpty is already slotting GAOL, OPAL, PEGS, ONER and KOPEK into the grid as I hunt for the malt, ales or even a hint of the usual crossword red or Asti.

Things are looking hopeful, ‘Followed trail of spy ultimately becoming communist? (6)’ That communist is almost always RED and we decide that SPOORED means ‘followed trail’ with that Y of SPY changing to the RED. Strange, though as KOPEK has put a K in that light and our SPOORED has become SPOKED. We have a hint of what is going on.

I don’t have to read very far for the next hopeful dash of alcohol’ Return of vinyl records has whipped up publicity (6)’ I invert LPS with ‘HAS’ whipped up or anagrammed and get SPLASH. The Big Red Book tells me that is ‘A little soda, tonic etc. (with a spirit)’. There’s hope for this pair.

However, I am almost at the end of the clues when I find them leaning on the bar, ‘Groups in bar at college teased gentleman (6)’ We decide that ‘bar at college’ tells us to remove the letters UP from the GROUPS IN leaving us with an anagram ‘teased’ of SIGNOR – the gentleman – crafty cluing! Cheers eXtent!

There is more crafty cluing and we slowly spot our nine words where the thematic person has had an effect, and nine extra words that define the adjusted words that appeared in their lights when we had removed the gold (OR or AU) and put the remaining letters in the cells left after entering other clues. We teased out SPOKED = BARRED, WHIP = LASH, RENDER = MELT, GATE + OPENING, MANGEY = SHABBY, DINT = FORCE, ADDERS + SUMMERS, SAGER + WISER, and SIGNS + ENGAGES and, of course, those ‘untouched letters’ spelled out our culprit whose DONKEY’S EARS had appeared earlier in our grid, together with the PHRYGIAN CAP that we had to remove to reveal the foolish Phrygian King’s penalty for his avidity. Poor KING MIDAS.

Very clever! We really struggled to understand the last solutions we entered. ‘Having engineer [lash] out, swatting rat (4)’ Of course we had to remove WATT (the engineer) from SWATTING to give us ‘SING” (like a canary = ‘rat’). ‘North American fish dish, good for starter in cafe (5)’. We had to replace the C of Cafe with G changing a SAUCER to a SAUGER (and removing the gold AU producing that SAGER = WISER). Luckily we had Mrs Bradford to tell us that a SAUGER is a North American fish. What a feat of compiling. Thank you eXtent.



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