Listen With Others

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Listener No 4648: Not One by Nudd

Posted by Dave Hennings on 19 Mar 2021

Nudd’s 2019 puzzle, Chalked Up, was based on the White Horse of Uffington and required some fiddly artwork at the end drawing the horse through various cells. I wasn’t sure after reading the preamble whether the “large symbol in the 78 resulting blank cells” would end up being just as fiddly.

Clue-wise here we had 24 clues where the definition was wrong. I wasn’t too sure why it didn’t use the usual phrase “There is a misprint of one letter in the definition”, but heigh-ho. The correct letters would give a poet and a line of verse with some endgame jiggery-pokery to reflect subsequent lines.

1ac Making one’s life messy, pukes up (7) brought a smile to my lips, embarrassingly bringing back memories of my youth! It looked like an anagram of pukes up, but it would take a second pass through the clues for me to see SEPPUKU (hara-kiri). 7ac Stones album less ordinary? It’s a beast (7) was a fun clue and, I would later discover, had nothing to to with Mr Jagger, et al.

A dozen across answers got slotted in fairly quickly, but only revealed four misprints. The downs were fairly easy as well, with EASTER, PORTOLAN, PLANNER, ULT and UMP enabling SEPPUKU to go in, followed by GALE, ECAD and SPEAR which got GEMSBOK done for 7ac. A slew more, and the first pass was completed in 35 minutes.

There were some enjoyable surface readings, with my favourite clues being 50ac Why [Who] eat less? Redigest nuts (not good) (7) and 11dn Köchel 50 soprano amid right rough aria [area] (5) which would have had Mozart turning in his grave! As with Hawk’s puzzle a couple of weeks previously, there were also a number of political references: Upper house (SEANAD), Unionist politician (UMP) and British Member of Parliament (BOWL). (Were they destined to replace Ms Curran’s fixation with alcohol?)

Just over an hour to fill the grid, and another ten minutes to find that I had to rub half of it out! The corrected misprints gave Thomas Hood and No shade, no shine. Luckily there weren’t many entries for Hood in my ODQ (8th Ed.), and the relevant verse was soon found from a poem called No!.

However, the 8th edition only gives the first three and last two lines of the poem, and it was left to my 5th edition to give more of the ending:

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member –
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, –

So we had to get rid of all the butterflies, bees, fruits, flowers, leaves and birds from the grid columns. Amazingly, the grid contained two butterflies (ARGUS, MONARCH), a bee (DRONE), two flowers (ASTER, ROSE), two leaves (KAT, NEEDLE) and a fair few fruits and birds. I searched in vain for an occurrence of VEMBER, but not one was found!

Erasing all this flora and fauna gave a giant blank N and I wondered how to draw the relevant Nato alphabet symbol. Should I use squiggly lines up and down the columns or left to right or diagonally? In the end, I got a really wide highlighter pen and just drew an N.

A fun puzzle and a nice piece of grid construction. Thanks, Nudd.


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