Listen With Others

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Mint Sauce by Stick Insect

Posted by shirleycurran on 18 Feb 2022

We saw the word ‘jumbled’ in the preamble and took a deep breath. Only three lines of preamble: that can be ominous too, but we were going to be given extra letters that would spell out an explanation of the thematic clues. The title suggested ‘lamb’ to us (and we are still unsure of its significance – maybe ‘sauce’ is a homophone for ‘source’ since our endgame gave us the source of ten solutions and the solutions anagrammed into those ten clues).

Of course I scanned the clues to confirm that Stick Insect retains his place at the oenophile Listener Setters’ bar and, sure enough, he was into the cognac. ‘Some of cognac is eventually put in bladder (6)’. We took the T out of ‘put’ and jumbled the PU to give us UP, prompting that we had a reverse hidden clue to VESICA. Cheers, Stick Insect!

We were pretty slow on the uptake when words like DOUBLE-THINK, CHORTLE, TUSHERY, DROOG and SERENDIPITY were the only ones that would fill spaces in our grid and had an almost full grid before the full message emerged: ANAGRAM OF THE ANSWER AND WHO OR WHAT COINED IT.

At that point, it was fun to find out what the initials of SMUTS were (J.C.) – the coiner of the word HOLISM and whether BURGESS who created those DROOGs was ANTONY or ANTHONY. The most intriguing was AVOISION. Chambers defined it for us as ‘A portmanteau word coined by the Institution of Economic Affairs in 1979 to represent a compromise , and blurring of the moral distinction , between tax avoi dance (which is legal) and tax evasion (which is illegal) but could Stick Insect really include all of that Institute in another of his clever jumbles? (Yes, he needed it to justify the WHO of the message spelled out by the letters.) Alistair Morrison was another where we had to consult the Internet – STRINE indeed!

A nicely verbal crossword where we didn’t have to fold the grid to do origami, erase half the letters, or head-scratch to discover some obscure shape. Many thanks, Stick Insect.

One Response to “Mint Sauce by Stick Insect”

  1. gillwinchcombe said

    I was slow on the uptake too about the coined words! And I too was intrigued by the title so I checked “sauce” in Chambers and I think it refers to the meaning of “pert or impertinent language (or behaviour)”. It was a word used in that way at home by my parents when my sister or I were being even more cheeky than usual. Like many colourful expressions of my childhood it seems to be dying out.

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