Listen With Others

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Listener No 4652: 8 × 8 by Phi

Posted by Dave Hennings on 16 Apr 2021

Early last year, Phi treated us to a puzzle with Albrecht Durer’s Knight, Death and the Devil as its theme and before that a collaboration with Sabre as Phibre, requiring a bit of bran power! This week, a solo effort with a grid lacking bars but a few clue numbers. (I often wonder what a carte blanche with clue numbers is. A carte grise, perhaps.)

So, there sure were a lot of 8s in this puzzle, starting with the title. There were sixteen 8-letter words that needed to be fitted somewhere into the grid in pairs with each pair in the shape of an 8. Well that was obviously not the place to start. That was with the acrosses and downs, each with a misprint in the definition.

I slowly teased out most of those clues and was lucky to have ENNNDARTNY as most of the corrected misprints from which I spotted Lennon and McCartney trying to make themselves known. This enabled me to suss out what the remaining clues were trying to tell me. 2ac Courses dismissive of Australian ways (6) was certainly one of the trickier ones for me with ways being a misprint of lays to give BETS [BEATS – A].

I must confess to having snuck a look at some of the clues for the 8-letter words, and I knew that they would be equally sneaky to solve, even though they were in alphabetical order. And I was right!

BELLYGOD was a new word for me as was OBIWOMAN although the clue was straightforward enough to help things along — Source of witchery that hurts Arab country with billion I invested [(OW + OMAN) around (B + I)]. I also liked Servants bringing in excessive soups if only for its simplicity. Most annoying clue was Visit Duke in decline (three words) which was also simplistic and which I was convinced was CALL IN ON even though it had absolutely no chance! GO TO SEE D indeed!

Slowly but surely I got them solved, sometimes even with the help of the clues already in place courtesy of the acrosses and downs. Of course, I had forgotten that there was a clash in one cell until a very late rereading of the preamble reminded me. That gave FOOTBALL and NOT AT ALL with the F/N clashing.

Finally the highlighting, and it was a pleasure to see everything come together with Lennon and McCartney’s When I’m Sixty-four: WILL YOU STILL NEED ME, WILL YOU STILL FEED ME in rows 3 and 8.

An excellent implementation of the theme, especially the innovative grid. If only it wasn’t quite so long ago for me, but thanks anyway, Phi.

3 Responses to “Listener No 4652: 8 × 8 by Phi”

  1. Encota said

    Love the animation, Dave!

  2. Alan B said

    I don’t have time to attempt every Listener, but I picked up this one and was glad in the end that I did. I found it tough [I smiled at another blogger’s comment calling it some gentle fun!] and had to start the grid from a base of having solved exactly half of all the clues (8 of the 16 unnumbered clues and 9 of the 18 Across/Down clues). It was just enough. I managed to place both STROWING and POTTAGES, and that in turn was just enough to place a couple more 8-letter words. It developed from there, the numbered and unnumbered clues and answers helping each other.
    Completing the puzzle was a rewarding and satisfying experience, and I admired its clever and original design. To say that was my main reason for coming here.

  3. Always good to see you drop by, Alan, and glad you appreciated the animation, Tim — it took halfway between 8 minutes and 8 hours to construct!

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