Listen With Others

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Listener No 4671, Ours: A Setter’s Blog by Xanthippe

Posted by Listen With Others on 29 Aug 2021

Helen and I have on occasion completed the concise puzzle, originally in The Independent, now in the i. In these puzzles,` the entries on the top line read together give another word or phrase. This seemed like an idea for a cryptic but remained dormant until a particular literary quiz in The Times. This had a question regarding The Listeners and Walter de la Mare. On looking up The Listeners I discovered James Gunn had a work of the same name and decided to include both writers.

Early on I decided all the across rows should have the gimmick and settled on DLM clues for brevity. Initially I looked at normal down answers but this proved too difficult for me. Jumbled answers gave me sufficient freedom to get a complete grid – I’m not keen on jumbles particularly as the solver gets the answer but can’t enter any letters. This was ameliorated, somewhat, by giving solvers the first and last entry letters.

I had some reservations that DLM and jumbles were not thematic but figured these have appeared many times in The Listeners over the years! On submitting the puzzle I knew the homophone nature was a risk. Indeed one was not accurate enough – thanks to Roger for his rework and as ever to him and Shane for their improvements to the puzzle.

With the gimmicks in this puzzle I wasn’t sure how it would be received but was pleased to read on the boards that solvers largely enjoyed it.

Xanthippe 13/08/21


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