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Blurred Lines by Skylark

Posted by shirleycurran on 2 Jul 2021

We are always pleased when a puzzle by one of the very few lady setters appears. Of course Skylark retains her place amongst the Elite Listener Setter Oenophiles. Her first clue left us in no doubt. ‘Lacking vigour, earl is introduced to bracing bubbly (7)’. The clue prompted us to opt for ANERGIC so that ‘bubbly’ turned out to be an anagram indicator and B, our first extra letter was left.

After the bubbly we moved on to Drambuie. ‘Romany girl once unloaded Drambuie leaving crate (3)’ We removed the C, deciding that ‘rate’ gave us CHIDE and emptied Drambuie told us to remove the D and E of that, producing the old word CHI for a Romany lady. The tippling continued, ‘Refuse cream from the east (4)’. This time we removed an E and were left with reversed CRAM giving us MARC, alcohol refuse indeed, but it is frequently on offer around where we live.

With all that alcohol already downed, we weren’t surprised to find ‘Lone bards oddly eschewed drink (4)’ By this time we knew what letter to remove to complete the instruction ERASE UNTHEMATIC CELLS (Mr Green is probably going to have an easier time this week with only 29 cells to check in each entry, plus the name of ERROLL GARNER). We removed the L of Lone giving us ‘one’ = ME and added odd letters of bArDs to produce MEAD – quite a tipple! Cheers, Skylark!

The clues were generous, though we didn’t know that snipes were SCAPES (though Mrs Bradford confirmed it) and our grid was soon full with CONCERT BY THE SEA in fifteen cells clearly appearing in the centre. However, the other half of the message BSE AND SECOND DARE FLAT really puzzled us for a while until we asked friend WIKI who told us that MISTY was ERROLL GARNER’s best-known work and that we are celebrating the centenary of his birth.

Our first attempt to produce the fourteen notes of ‘Look at me, I’m as helpless as a kitten up a tree’ failed but we lowered it a key (at least, I think that’s what we did – music is not my forte) and found the notes in the right places in the grid. So the Bs, E and second D needed the flat symbol, but does it go before or after the letter? (I know it goes before the note). A musician friend who used to play Misty in a bar in Paris put me right – after the letter. A lovely compilation celebrating a much-loved work. Thank you, Skylark.

One Response to “Blurred Lines by Skylark”

  1. Dear Shirley,

    Thanks so much for this generous blog, and all your support to me when learning about crossword compiling. It was an absolute pleasure to set this, as a lifelong fan of Erroll’s, and so I was absolutely thrilled when the editors agreed to publish it as close to his centenary as possible. Of course, that day, I listened to Concert By The Sea and played Misty on my piano.

    Jo (Skylark)

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