Listen With Others

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Listener No 4667: Classicist by Gorrag

Posted by Dave Hennings on 30 Jul 2021

Another new setter this week, although fast forward to having solved the puzzle and I’m guessing it’s a not-so-new setter in disguise. Of course, the preambulatory “writer who died this year” was unlikely to be John Le Carré (or even David Cornwell) being too obvious. It would certainly prove to be an unusual theme to tease out, and that would come after some tough clues to resolve.

Luckily the tough clues came after the slightly less tough perimeter clues. REASON (hidden), ENIGMA (anagram) and FORTY-FIVE (2 meanings) were solved quick enough, but requiring to be encoded using some thematic words they just stood down the side my worksheet going nowhere.

Fast forward to the penny drop where NIBO• and BA•TER led me to the answer. All this was via my favourite clue 11ac Loewe oddly dismissed Lerner after initially hearing feedback on radio? (4) for HOWL [Lerner becomes Learner; (L)O(e)W(e) + L after H(earing)]. The thematic writer was Robin Tristram BAXTER who set nineteen Listener puzzles under the pseudonym NIBOR, many with a musical theme. I read of his death over at the Crossword Centre message board. I think I’m lucky to know the names of a fair few Listener setters, real names as well as pseudonyms, and this certainly helped.

The precoded perimeter entries were words from Nibor’s puzzles which the Listener crossword website listed. The letters required to be added to the non-perimeter clues gave “(O) death where is thy sting” (from I Corinthians 15) and hinted at seven wasps that needed adding to the perimeter answers to give the perimeter entries. Thus:

  • REASON it Out + hornet
  • ENIGMA Variations + digger
  • The FORTY-FIVE + cuckoo fly
  • SYMPHONY in Four Movements + ruby-tail
  • TROUT Quintet + mason
  • Home and AWAY + gold
  • SAFARI + bembex

The finished grid had NIBOR and RT BAXTER in the shape of a cross with RIP underneath.

Thanks Gorrag, whoever you are!

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