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Listener No 4649: Get Weaving by Paddock

Posted by Dave Hennings on 26 Mar 2021

This was Paddock’s fourth Listener with the previous one being just over a year ago with No 4577, The Gaudy and its Inspector Morse theme. This week we had something that I’d never seen before — two clues interwoven! Luckily answers were entered normally, unlike the normal down clues where it was the two answers that were interwoven.

Listener 4649Starting with the acrosses, it soon became obvious that, unless a definition really stood out, I was pretty much stuffed. In 1ac Hated sham spending cuts following number one rule in such charged circumstances (7;5) for example Hated could be LOATHED, but no amount of trying the clue helped. The next obvious thing was that it was better to start with the down clues.

1 Confirm man leaving horse muck prepared earth in spring looked as though the first part could have some manure-y context but no joy. So 2 next Conservative serene about rejecting nuclear weapon bill — requirement for junket arising and CREESE/TENNER got me up and running.

3 passed me by, but 4 and 5 gave STAINS/MUSSES and EDDIES/ADHERE. No luck with 6 and 7, but 8 Selfie-taking device reached top of rankings, a stylish screen securing second place looked like CAMERA/something with that sneaky a belonging to the first clue no the second.

A bit more concentration on 1dn gave ASSURE (I was right about the manure)/BOUNED. From there, it seemed that letter patterns were the way to go as the across clues were still totally intractable. Thus 1ac started A/B+C/T with AC••M•• or AC••S•• being most likely. With the help of Mrs B’s cursed under hated I eventually got ACCUSED [ACCURSED – R] with the clue being Hated spending rule charged leaving Sham cuts following number one in such circumstances giving FACTS [ACT in (F + S(uch))]. So not only were the clues interwoven, it looked as though they were pretty difficult when disentangled!

Down the left-hand side of the grid, across the top and down the right and all was done. Not quite the quickest solve of the year — in fact pretty tough. I found it thoroughly enjoyable separating out the two across clues.

Not for the first time recently, I came across that sitcom priest TED in 7b plus a bit of off-the-wall humour in 9a What be that at rear of guardhouse? Mate, perhaps with ’TIS AN E and mate³ for the definition. It will come as no surprise to you that my favourite clue was 21ac Endless bonking injures aged duke drinking partner served drugged bubbly obscuring taste of Viagra (5;7) for DERES [clue here in bold, SERVED* – V(iagra)] and SEDATED [(SE(x) + D) around DATE].

The endgame required us to identify the names of two competitors, one on each side of the grid and then replace six letters of one to “reflect the outcome of the contest”. It didn’t take long to identify ARACHNE on the left and MINERVA on the right. The former then had six letters replaced to reveal A SPIDER.

Thanks for all this, Paddock. Very enjoyable with a fun clueing gimmick that made some clues tougher than disentangling Christmas tree lights.

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