Listen With Others

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Listener 4691 Something in Common by Lionheart

Posted by gillwinchcombe on 17 Jan 2022

What joy – a Listener unexpectedly appearing online on Christmas Eve! And a topical, original and entertaining Listener to boot. The gridfill was relatively straightforward, and in due course I spotted the ISIHAC connection, the metre and the notes, but then things started to get sticky. There was no choice: for the family’s sake it had to be laid aside until after Christmas.

Boxing Day came, and identifying the carols – even when playing the notes on an online keyboard – was surprisingly difficult for someone as unmusical as me. They yielded in 3 different ways:

  • JOY TO THE WORLD (11, 17) was recognisable from the tune, despite my inaccurate rendition. Just as well, as equating “joy” with “dear” was a long way from my thinking
  • “We left the moonlit B hotel” (37, 41) immediately – and surprisingly – resolved itself to O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM ; and
  • IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR gave me much grief and needed a deep dig into resources acquired from six decades of carol singing in church & market square. Eventually it emerged. My first candidate also had 24 letters and 6 words, but I think “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” has a different metre.

Google (mis)led me to Ilkley moor. Oh no! Surely I don’t have to replace all the existing notes with those of Cranbrook! Childhood memories of thumbing through Hymns Ancient & Modern during some less than engaging sermons came to the rescue. Cranbrook was originally written for a hymn – While Shepherds Watched – and lo and behold, the first line (in words) fitted with the H, H, Y, L, T, O of HUMPHREY LYTTELTON. At this point I realised that I hadn’t actually needed to identify IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR but by this time I was full of Christmas spirit (not that kind!) and happy to have reached the finishing line.

A cracker of a Christmas puzzle, thanks to Lionheart


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