Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Follow the Directions Again by Artix

Posted by shirleycurran on 4 Feb 2022

We know that Artix’s crosswords can be challenging so started with a couple of stiff drinks. The second part of the preamble prompted that we were going to apply an original device, using the first letter of a clue that appeared in an unchecked cell to establish, numerically, which clue letter wuld lead to a message. I drew myself a few coloured lines to keep tabs on that, while the other Numpty tore into the clues with surprising speed almost solving them in clue order – indeed, Artix’s clues may be subtle and complex, but they are always fair.

I really didn’t need to check that he retains his right of entry to the Listener Oenophiles Elite Outfit. He lives not far away from us and we often enjoy his fine wines – but I checked anyway. The first bar soon appeared: ‘Either bar once or never? (3)’ We decided that was cryptic. LET (archaic) meant ‘to hinder, or bar’ but if you ‘let’ in the sense of ‘allow’ you never do it.

‘Rule right to part mother from her ruin (6)’ gave us R in between MA and her GIN, producing MARGIN and Chambers confirmed that as a definition of ‘Rule’ – so we were into the gin, things looking up. Then, oh dear! ‘Get clobbered by Australian ejected from boozer asprawl (4)’. We removed the OZ from the BOOZER and anagrammed (asprawl) the BOER that was left, giving us ROBE – to get clobbered. Cheers, anyway, Artix.

With a full grid, we had to grid stare for a while as we found actors called PENN and TRAVIS but it was eventually working out that we could fit TAXI DRIVER down that centre column that prompted us to look for ROBERT DE NIRO and we changed a couple of letters in the grid and highlighted those 12 letters.

Those numerical calculations had told us CHANGE DOWN FOR ANAGRAM OF RINGED LETTERS. Maybe there was a red herring here as AOCRSS temptingly spells OSCARS, but we opted for ACROSS.

MASTERMIND had offered itself as an alternative ‘title’ and the Internet provided the surprising information that a taxi driver named FRED HOUSEGO had won MASTERMIND in 1980 on the topic of the TOWER OF LONDON. Now we understood why that ‘Riverside property’ had appeared ACROSS the bottom of our grid. Sure enough, FRED HOUSEGO was there too after manipulation of a couple of letters, and we highlighted him. Most entertaining, Artix, thank you.

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