Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Music Box by tnap

Posted by shirleycurran on 5 Feb 2021

Our first reaction, after seeing a circular grid (which is already a prompt that the theme must have something to do with a ring or a circle, as that is an editorial requirement for a circular crossword) was relief that there was no mention of misprints or extra wordplay letters, but then we read that the radial entries were to be jumbled (well – ‘entered in an order to be determined’ – that looked like a jumble to me) and were going to produce a fifth letter that was going to help spell out some of the tune’s lyrics. That was not all – there was an entire ring of unclued thematic entries. Quite a challenge even if the other Numpty was already filling in HORTENSIO, SKI BUMS and SCIROCCO as I hunted through the clues to check that tnap retained his seat amongst the elitist Listener setter oenophiles.

Oh dear, oh dear! I got through the entire set of clues despairing of his membership and it was only after completing our solve that we saw that ‘Irritation initially suppressed loathing in some parts (6)’ We took the B off BUGGING and found an unusual word UGGING – we can stretch it, I think and raise our GIN (with a bit of an “Ugg” of protest). Cheers, tnap.

I don’t know how solvers with just pencil and paper manage crosswords like this. When we had rather a lot of potential letters from THICK, BOWIE, CRUST, HOHUM, GOONS, FROGS and CONWY, I was able to enter them into TEA which suggested HAWTHORN as the unclued word and prompted us that ATISHOO would appear in the letters we were not entering. Penny-drop moment. With ATISHOO ATISHOO WE ALL FALL DOWN now established, we were able to find TOYON, LOQUAT, REMONTANT, MOSS and LOQUAT but imagine my surprise to learn that those are all types of rose!

I should think tnap began setting this one by putting the ‘letter pegs’ in his grid, then just stretching his tune just a little to fit in the letters of those lyrics. He must have had quite a struggle to find the remaining three letters of each radial that would spell out real words (OK – we’ll accept that the odious jumbles were the only way.)

We needed to confirm that we had the right notes and Wiki led us on a fine goose chase with a number of versions but the other Numpty finally located a Marlborough version that approximately fitted, and the notes we had played a tune that sounded fine. I suppose, with the black death, there were a lot of people doing the ‘Atishoo, we all fall down’ thing all over the regions (Ed. Surely it’s topical?) and singing in a range of off-key versions. Thank you tnap.



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