Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Harry East by Lath

Posted by shirleycurran on 24 Dec 2021

We downloaded the most unusual grid we have seen for a while and had to colour three strips alongside the clues for three different clue devices, missing letters, misprints to correct, and a strange new device, seven pairs of consecutive letters that had to be suffixed by the number of letters in the clue’s first word.

This was Lath’s second Listener puzzle but I still thought I should confirm his membership of the Listener Oenophiles. He left little doubt. ‘Gas making oik again into beer’s content (6)’ Not much surface sense there but we guessed we had to put THEN into the EE of beer, giving us ETHENE, a gas making oil.

‘Ian’s brains sharpen when tipsy (5)’ The Scottish Numpty said “That has to be HARNS, so we have a pair of letters extra there – but do we use Ian or Ian’s PE3 or PE4?” We opted for PE4 (fortunately).

Lath moved onto the gin (except that we decided DECIMÉ had to be ‘Old French tin or coinage), ‘Old french gin measure chilled with twist (6)’ we twisted EM and ICED. No wonder he’s tipsy mixing the beer and gin. Cheers, Lath!

Solving progressed steadily and the very last word we entered was WHITE. We already had BLACK DAMP at 10 across and the emerging question WHOSE MATE IS IT? suggested to us that we had to play a game of chess – but how? Solving that, with a few bungled moves, took us as long as our grid fill.

Misprinted letters corrected to OBEY BLOCK OF THIRTY-TWO CELLS and we could read in the centre of our grid ERASE THESE LETTERS PLAY ALL THE MOVES. We did as instructed, then did as hinted by the two colours, adding notation (1 to 8 and A to H in the 16 blank cells) and attempted to play the seven moves indicated by PE4, PE5, BC4, BC5, QH5, NF6, QF7.

We don’t know a lot about chess so were not sure what we had to make of the letters that moved in the game S C H O L (that queen moved again to checkmate the king) A, and R, the poor pawn that went back into the box without having moved, but the Internet was a great help and explained SCHOLAR’s MATE in four moves.

Scholar’s mate in four moves

What an astonishing compilation!

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