Listen With Others

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Listener 4695 Betrayal by Nudd

Posted by gillwinchcombe on 20 Feb 2022

It was a pleasure to solve Betrayal, although I agree with Nudd’s statement in his blog that “Ceci n’etait pas un doddle”. Yes, the gridfill was relatively straightforward, despite struggling with 1ac “Assembled players before finale of Evita briefly hail Perons [Herons] – I was convinced there was a hidden ADA in the answer SQUACCOS (I had SQUAD A ACCOS), and so I started looking for removed letters from other entries. Using “before finale of Evita” to clue SQU is a new device to me of indicating a truncated word and, I must confess, not my favourite, but well done to Nudd for creativity. Must remember that! Then I made a rookie error by initially assuming VACANCY in 24ac “Leave for dock as border’s line is cloudy” which is of course VACANCE, and obvious once dock is changed to Jock. And the wordplay in 18dn “Seemingly limitless mass behind governing bodies” still eludes me even though I know the extra letter is an A and the entry is SENATES. Gridfill done!

But new mysteries awaited. I had gobbledegook above the top row and two daunting jumbles of letters in my instruction. But unlike in Artix’s puzzle the previous week, the first pdm came within hours: the letters across the top (still missing their A from 18dn) might just be French “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”; thank you Google for filling this gaping hole in my knowledge of Art. Then I read the instruction HPLYGREYBNJAUQGRBROWN out loud and – joy – the light dawned and I was able to colour in the pipe. Thank you Nudd for introducing me to Magritte and his surrealist smoking artefact in such a pleasurable fashion; I find that both Nudd’s original, memorable and very neatly devised puzzle, and its subject, need a good measure of lateral thinking in order to get to grips with their meaning!

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