Listen With Others

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Listener No 4683: Diversions by Dysart

Posted by Dave Hennings on 19 Nov 2021

Last year’s Dysart puzzle focused on the somewhat gory Roald Dahl story about a wife who kills her philandering husband with a frozen leg of lamb and then later feeds the cooked joint to his police mates. This week, all down clues were to be jumbled before entry (oh, great!) with one of their answers leading to some endgame antics.

Across clues and entries were normal, so an obvious place to begin. Three clues got me off to a flying start: 1 German is regularly supplied with directions to make implant (5) gave INSET [IST around N and E], 5 Festival fruits, last of crops going west (6) for EASTER [EATERS with (crop)S moved back] and 11 Bosses in the underworld shifting ecstasy (5) for HEADS [HADES with E moved]. Unfortunately, 13 Hot roll sandwiches before spicy dish (5) put BALTI in my head instead of what would turn out to be BHUNA [BUN around H + A].

Quite a few clues got slotted in on first pass through, and I was happy that 1dn Islam’s chief uncertainty under King Henry (6) for KHALIF started off the downs, although further progress proved more than tricky. By the time I had tackled all the downs, only a handful could be pencilled in. However, this enabled a few more acrosses to find their way into the grid, revealing the circled phrase to be LOW STAR and some sort of astronomical theme seemed to be at play. If only!

Not for the first time, I note how having a choice of three of four letters in a cell enabled a crossing entry to be sussed much more easily than you’d think. Thus, inch by inch the grid was filled, including a favourite clue 28 Deal with over 80 beer bottles (7, two words) for SORT OUT [STOUT around (O + R); R being medieval Roman numeral although it actually has a bar on top].

Despite being a favourite clue, it took me some time to identify it as the down answer that needed “applying” to the circled letters. Eventually, I realised that we weren’t dealing with an astronomical LOW STAR but a grid-oriented LAST ROW! A simple unravelling of N LUPOUS TOMMY proved not simple, but I was determined to work it out without use of help from Tea. After 15 minutes (OK, I could have used the time for some online shopping!), MOUNT OLYMPUS popped out.

My first thought was that the associated references would appear downwards, perhaps using the unchecked cells. Reaching for Brewer, I found a list of the twelve Greek Dii Majores: ZEUS, APOLLON, ARES, HERMES, POSEIDON, HEPHAESTUS, HERA, DEMETER, ARTEMIS, ATHENE, APHRODITE and HESTIA. Wiki has a slightly different list, including DIONYSUS. I suppose that meant that we had Di (gods) versions.

It was superb to discover that they didn’t appear vertically but across the grid as one by one the letters in each across entry got changed. Top-notch construction. Thanks, Dysart.

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