Listen With Others

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Get Weaving by Paddock

Posted by shirleycurran on 26 Mar 2021

We read this preamble with growing dismay; ‘the two answers must be randomly interwoven in the columns’. That sounded rather like jumbles, and we read that it was the clues that were ‘randomly interwoven’ for the across entries. How does one begin a crossword like that?

Well, of course, I begin by searching the clues for any hope that Paddock may retain his space at the Listener bar with the elite setter oenophiles. There’s initial hope in ‘Compound extreme lying about bottling that is …’ but that was almost the last ‘interwoven’ clue we solved and we decided it had to be END ‘lying about’ so giving DNE and that was ‘bottling’ IE, giving DIENE. Not much hope there!

Things improved with ‘TV presenters unusually ordered to relocate’. We ‘ordered’ ANT and DEC ‘unusually’ and produced DECANT which Chambers tells me is ‘to move (people etc.) to another area’. Now what is Paddock decanting? There was ‘RED’ a couple of clues further down in REDONE – ‘perhaps worked over by bolshy eastern guards (RED E around ON) – none of that entirely convincing.

However, I imagine all solvers worked from the top of the grid down, finishing with DERES and SEDATED, which, of course, put themselves in the grid as they were our remaining letters, and by that time, we were truly admiring the cleverness of Paddock’s construction (and the unusual difficulty and complexity of his clues!) and what do I find? ‘Endless bonking injures aged duke drinking partner served drugged bubbly obscuring taste of Viagra’. Hmmm. I mutter in blogs about the surface readings of clues which sometimes give an implausible picture but there isn’t much ambiguity about the picture painted there. I’ve put on my disapproving look (and laugh) and decide Paddock had no need to decant the red, his skilful crossword has thoroughly earned that bottle of bubbly (even if it is obscuring the taste of Viagra). Cheers, Paddock.

Fortunately we realized early on that the clues were not entirely ‘randomly’ interwoven since the words of each indivicual clue kept their own order, just as did the letters in the two interwoven down clues in each pair so we were able to weasel out answers from potential letters even when we couldn’t separate the clue threads and solve the clues, but we had completely filled the grid before MINERVA and ARACHNE appeared. What a fine end game! We changed poor ARACHNE into A SPIDER, happy to see that only real words emerged in our tapestry. What a fine piece of work!

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