Listen With Others

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Listener No 4692: Whodunnit? by Kruger

Posted by Dave Hennings on 22 Jan 2022

The first Listener of the year and we had a Kruger puzzle to solve. His last one was nearly five years ago and had Watford Gap and the North-South Divide as its theme (no. 4443, Not the Rockies). He has, however, been very busy over at Inquisitor and Enigmatic Variations in the meantime.

Here we had an alphabetical jigsaw in a 12×14 grid without symmetry. There were four wordplay-only thematic clues and nineteen others with a misprint that would enable us to “complete the puzzle correctly” — if only that was a certainty!

A first glance at the clues showed that there were an awful lot of 4-, 5- and 6-letter entries that needed to be slotted in, with only a smattering of longer ones. My first pass through had about half solved, including AMARETTO and DAY-CARERS although REPLETING would have to wait for the second pass (all that Christmas pud must have slowed my brain). I also got what looked like the thematic WYCLIFFE early on, although I had no idea what that referred to (Christmas pud again).

I always enjoy the teasing out of answers once the initial skeletal framework is in place. After a couple of trips through the clues, it was time for a bit of grid-fill if possible. Well it didn’t take long to put AMARETTO across with DAY-CARERS and REPLETING coming down, and I was off with a bang. Fast forward via the top right, bottom left and the bits either side as the remaining clues were solved.

It was only when FROST got solved that WYCLIFFE rang a bell, both being TV detectives. I had also heard of TAGGART, but had to google BACCHUS for details about him. The misprint corrections, once put in the order of entries in the grid, spelt out Actors to replace ’tecs.

Now I’m not a great fan of TV detective series (no, not even Morse) so needed a bit more googling to help with all but Jack FROST (ha, ha!) who I knew was played by David JASON. Thus we had Lee INGLEBY played John BACCHUS alongside Inspector George Gently, Mark MCMANUS played Jim TAGGART, and Jack SHEPHERD played Charles WYCLIFFE. It strikes me that writers show a distinct lack of originality in just naming the series after the leading character — even Taggart is still called Taggart although the character was killed off after McManus’s death in the early 90’s!

It’s always nice to see new words appearing as a grid-fill is changed, and here we had twenty of them. A nice start to the year, thanks, Kruger.

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