Listen With Others

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Listener 4672 Form..ation by Mr E

Posted by gillwinchcombe on 14 Sep 2021

Formulation – need I look out for something medical/chemical? It took me ages to solve the first clue, and quite a while to knock off the next half dozen, but then I got into gear and the gridfill fell into place, except for 27ac. I was stumped until I corrected the river in 28dn from Arne to ORNE. LOONIE made me smile (for “where to go”).

My favourite clues were 10ac “Locals obey these (medics), as will our queen when ill” [LIQUOR LAWS] for its surface reading; 15ac “Hackney driver losing money before (storing0 change in this” [CABANA] for its clever use of cabman; 5d Ed’s (associates) not honoured in new order – in new order! [IRRENOWNED] for putting “in new order” in new order, and 14d In (short) these Americans discuss charge on heartless adults” [RAP GROUPS] for dis-heartening grown-ups. I still can’t parse 26dn, even realising that Keith is the place not the person. And I did raise an eyebrow at “called over” being used to denote an anagrammed homonym (if indeed that is the case)!

So, how to choose the 20 [conson]ants? Then the clearly correct (but technically not unique) solution jumped out at me! After disposing initially of all 20 consonants symmetrically but randomly I spotted the pattern: what a beautiful, delectable construction! I had never heard the song – we lived in the USA in the mid-80s when our children were pre-school age, but they were hooked on Raffi, another talented Canadian. Thank you Mr E for introducing me to “The ants go marching …”. I loved the video and if it’s any consolation it took me the best part of a week to completely erase the earworm!

Formication not formulation – of course. Excellent title but I can see why you didn’t want to give the game away by spelling it out completely!


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