Listen With Others

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Listener No 4651: That’s Your Lot by Ploy

Posted by Dave Hennings on 9 Apr 2021

Ploy’s last Listener was some time ago with a song by Flanders and Swann as its theme. [Spoiler alert: I may be starting my next blog of a Ploy puzzle with the same sentence!] That song was Misalliance, the love story of a honeysuckle and a bindweed and was titled Right and Left. That was also the symmetry of that puzzle. [Spoiler safe: that was also the symmetry of this puzzle, so perhaps Ploy was repeating himself!]

Anyway, this week we had normal across clues (and indeed entries) but an extra letter/word in each down clue which obviously needed removing before solving. These would spell out an extract from a song which, hopefully, would help solving all the moving around that would be required in the endgame.

1ac and 5ac got slotted in straightaway, being STEELY and SCALAE. 10ac Escapade that sadly leaves Dicky fainthearted (8) looked like an anagram of fainthearted with an anagram of that removed. Very nice use of Dicky too. Unfortunately doodling FINEARED failed to reveal FREDAINE until some crossing entries soon helped.

I decided on some downs next and while 1 Fatty secretion covering headcloth in bloody protein (12, two words) failed me, but 2 Tenants head exotic afternoon entertainment (10, two words) got me THE DANSANT. 3 ERA and 4 LESS got the FREDAINE in and REHASH then got me DHARMSALA (not many words beginning with my initials).

All this helped me get the left-hand side of the grid, culminating in 1dn Fatty secretion covering headcloth in blood[y] protein (12, two words) for SERUM ALBUMIN [(SEBUM + IN) around RUMAL]. Over to the right, and ASCENSION and ANTEPENULT got that half of the grid started and reasonably soon finished.

Just over the hour for the grid to be done and extra letters/word identified: Yeah that’s entropy, man! Loved the shriek! There were some enjoyable clues — not counting Ploy’s egocentric inclusion in 31ac Island tariff about to be blocked by me as not fit for use (12) for EMPLOYMENT! 7dn Marsh feature lacking margins in equal amounts (3) had me wonderiong why marshes could have canals before ralising we were talking about Mars, and 22dn Besuited editor’s regular obits could give this direction on proof (4) had regular bits with every third letter taken.

So, a bit of googling to reveal Flanders and Swann’s song, First and Second Law. From the first law, we have “Heat is work and work is heat.” And from the second, “Heat cannot of itself pass from one body to a hotter body.”

Of course, we had HOTTER and COOLER opposite each other in columns 3 and 10 with WORK and HEAT next to them. Well it didn’t take long to see WORK sitting in column 4, but where was the HEAT that it needed to swap with. I spent far too long looking in the upper part of the grid (well about 10 minutes, I guess) before my eye settled on the four letters that were in the bottom row — H, E, A and T! Swapping the two gave new words everywhere.

Next we had to illustrate the second law, and HEAT, which was now in column 4 had to move from its HOTTER place to the COOLER, leaving a gap behind. Again, new words sprouted up everywhere.

Finally, the song tells us “…there’ll be no more work And there’ll be perfect peace”, so PERFECT PEACE appeared in the bottom row with unchecked letters CAFE PRET. Four new words appeared to round off the puzzle.

Great fun. Thanks, Ploy.

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