Listen With Others

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L4649: ‘Get Weaving’ by Paddock

Posted by Encota on 26 Mar 2021

My thanks to Paddock for an excellent puzzle – just the right level of difficulty, I felt.

I had the grid filled by end of Saturday, with a few question marks here and there where I hadn’t quite parsed the clue-pair as yet.  After a day of rest (ok, other puzzling) I polished off the last few parsings on Monday morning, with all done by 9:10.

One of my last three to sort was (with one of the interwoven clues shown in bold):

1. Hated sham spending cuts following number one rule in such charged circumstances

It was interesting to me how hard I found it to be certain precisely which words were in each clue-half.  For example, “number one in such” for S seemed to take me an age to spot.  Yet it seems so obvious after the event!

Another was:

16. Top fragrance EU had withdrawn left leader wanting standards for non-flammability revised

For some reason my mind went blank associating ‘fragrance’ with AROMA.  I had AMORAL pencilled in the grid and it still didn’t jump out at me.  Again, once highlighted as above, it seems so obvious!  I guess the crossword clue as a one-way function would make quite a good discussion topic.  One to save for when we all next meet at a face-to-face Listener Quarterly, perhaps.  Oh, and the WP for the letter N above made me smile – not perhaps the obvious choice of word from which to derive it!  Aside: I wonder if anyone has used antidisestablishmentarianism in a clue to derive a letter A yet – if not, then maybe I’ll be the first!

And the third was:

14. African predicant declines priest’s cape conceding over case for stalls and initially
          expensive pews.

I had DOMINEE as an almost-certain in the Grid and could see DOMIN(o) but there seemed to be so many possible Container&Contents_indicators (over; case for; stalls) to put the A in SETS vs picking the EE from E(xpensiv)E  that it took me ages to see ‘stalls’=installs.  Once I had that and SETS for ‘declines’ then all finally fell into place.

What I also loved about this puzzle was the mild assist one got from the checkers.  From the solved Down entries sometimes it would narrow down to two options, sometimes more – but they were enough to give a gentle assist to the clues in the other direction.  And then a few Acrosses in place nailed some checkers into place, so allowing other uncertain cell options to be narrowed down further.  This process was very satisfying, I felt.

Oh, and I bet I wasn’t the only one to celebrate my first letter in the grid – in the top right, an S as the first letter of STOLID or SHEKEL.  That took about 20 mintues, I think!  Colouring the Down entries helped a lot – see diagram.

Finally, the theme was, of course, impeccable!  Arachne, the weaver and Minerva, battling it out.

Thanks again to Paddock. A beautiful puzzle!!

Cheers & stay safe,

Tim / Encota


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