Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Something in Common by Lionheart

Posted by shirleycurran on 14 Jan 2022

Somewhat naïvely, as today (Christmas Day) falls on a Saturday and there will be no Times until Monday, I imagined there would be no on-line crossword yesterday and was rather surprised when ‘Something in Common’ appeared. We put to one side the test-solve we were engaged in and began what was clearly a Christmas crossword when three clues suggested that they were carols (‘At Christmas time sing this’, ‘Old Carol…’ and ‘festive strain’).

In fact, we interrupted our solve to listen to the Christmas Carols and readings from Kings College Chapel and gained a few hints but ‘Joy to the World’, ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’, and ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ didn’t fit into the spaces reserved for them in the grid and instead we began to see a series of letters. Our first notion was that we were going to find A,B,C,D, etc. J K but No L (Noël) but Lionheart was more subtle than that.

After that, we had the awful thought that those were the notes of those carols but that we had to ‘substitute’ ONE SONG TO THE TUNE OF ANOTHER, since that was what the extra letters were spelling out for us. Surely we not very musical solvers (the other Numpty plays the bagpipes – that’s about it) didn’t have to annotate and insert a different carol?

METRE, we were told, was common to those three clues and the hint we were given was CRANBROOK. Fortunately a name appeared in 18/12 – HUMPHREY LYTTELTON and the Internet (our great solving mate) told us what it was all about. The other Numpty was busy attempting to fit the notes of ‘On Ilkley Moor Baa t’at’ into those cells as an Internet example suggested that Humphrey Lyttelton’s game consisted, for example, of singing ‘While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night’ to our Yorkshire anthem (and it really works – I went to bed singing it – to his horror) but light dawned. It was the words that went into those cells – great relief and what a fine idea.

Of course I had scanned the clues for evidence that Lionheart retains his place amongst the Listener Setter Oenophiles and there was a disappointingly TT set. The completed grid gave a touch of hope. ‘Shrub hurt, put over rash (7)’ gave us ALOE and SOR[E]< producing ROSEOLA. Rosé is a favourite French summer drink, not brilliant here just now where we still have heaps of snow on the ground but “Cheers, Lionheart, anyway.”

Ah, but then I spotted that Lionheart had made room for the little Listener hare – at least its ear had managed to creep in, ‘Make haste and smoke the plant (8)’ (HARE and SE[G]AR) – a reassuring Christmas visit from the little Poat character – so Lionheart compensated for that second-rate rosé. A lovely Christmas treat. Thank you Lionheart.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: