Listen With Others

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Listener No 4672: Form..ation by Mr E

Posted by Dave Hennings on 3 Sep 2021

Last year’s puzzle from Mr E had ALL being lost from entries but reappearing bigly in the final grid. This week, extra words in the clues would formulating a line from a song (given by second letters) and a prefix of some sort (given by nth letters).

As expected, the clues were quite tough with some smooth surface readings disguising what was going on, and extra words adding to the confusion. Time here only to reveal my favourites.

  • 11ac Locals obey these [medics], as will our queen when ill (10, two words) gave us LIQUOR LAWS [(AS WILL OUR Q)*].
  • 21ac [Anyone] playing along with Mr E may be a lug (9) for ANGLEWORM [(ALONG + MR E)*]
  • 6dn Eruption of Krakatoa could be threat to this NZ tree (6) for KARAKA [TO + KARAKA = KRAKATOA*]
  • Best of all: 16ac Chicken crosses road to get the ultimate in [chicken] happiness (6) for HEAVEN [HEN around AVE (avenue)]

Listing the second letters of all the extra words enabled the prefix to be easily identified: The lit[h]tl[n]e one st[l]ops to shut[e] th[r]e d[r]oor. Examining those remaining extra words revealed that it was their fourth (thematic) letters that had to be used to give conson, not a prefix I’ve used before!

Googling the songs line gave the children’s rhyme The Ants Go Marching, each verse telling us how they marched (one by one, two by two, etc) and what the little ant stopped to do, in our case to shut the door. Prefixing ant with ‘conson’ gave consonant and some grid examination was then required to identify the participants and non-participants.

The diagonal near the bottom right — DDNJFZNT — gave me a nudge in the right direction, with MBGH to its right and SLDQ in the top left. Filling in the groups of four in between and we had all the consonants with AYOIEU in the bottom left.

The title, of course, was not Formulation but Formication.

A neat idea, nicely executed. Thanks, Mr E.


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