Listen With Others

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Manhunt by Shark

Posted by shirleycurran on 29 Oct 2021

Yet another different and intriguing grid and we note with pleasure and a touch of trepidation that the ‘Manhunt’ is by Shark (part of Rood, a previous Ascot Gold Cup winner). It won’t be a thirty-minute solve but it will certainly be fair and introduce us to some theme that will appear substantially in the grid. I haven’t counted but suspect there are more words in the pre-ramble than in the clues – did you ever see such a long one! Eleven lines.

We’ve shared a few bottles in the past but I still need to confirm that Shark retains his place amongst the Listener Setters’ Oenophiles. We see that he ‘Nicked English wine, … (5)’ and opt for E ROSE (Yukk – do they really make that in England?) … one inferior to Austrlian declared passé (4)’ We put the RED under A(ustralian) producing an old word for declared. What is he going to do with these poor vintages? Ah, ‘Wide, fast – but we have openers dismissed (6)’ We remove a few opening letters to produce ASTUTE. As long as we have ‘openers’ all should be well. Cheers, Shark!

A mere 35 clues and we fill the grid very carefully, making sure to get those diagonal lines sloping the right way so that across and down entries are read in letter order and, reading one letter from each of the double-letter entries (how kind that the word-lengths were given!) we learn that A MURDER HAS GUST BEEN COMMITTED AT …. That rings a bell and makes sense of the five words that we extracted from five ‘normal’ clues (five clues with no shared cells, those to BENI, GAGE, HILL, XIS and WELD).

‘Wheatstone two-needle telegraph’ are redundant words and remind us the famous transmitted message about JOHN TAWELL. We see SALT HILL in the grid and can change the HILL to HALL so that we have the ‘cornered culprit’ in six letters at the foot of the grid.

How are we going to decode the grid to produce a description of John Tawell that was transmitted to London police so that he could be tailed from his arrival at Paddington and subsequently arrested and hanged for his murder of his second wife? We remember that the early telegraph had only an upright and two or three slanting bars and Wiki helps us decipher the message that is in the grid in front of us telling us that he is in the GARB OF A KWAKER (Of course, with no Q or J – that explains the Gust!)

What a superb compilation. Thank you, Shark.


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