Listen With Others

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Listener No 4696, Mint Sauce: A Setter’s Blog by Stick Insect

Posted by Listen With Others on 20 Feb 2022

The idea for this puzzle arose from one of my previous Listeners – You Don’t Say. I was pleased with the serendipitious discovery that Gelett Burgess, the subject of that puzzle, was credited in Chambers with coming up with the word “blurb” and was able to use that as a clue in the message. That got me thinking about whether coinages might make a theme in their own right.

Fortunately, the CD-Rom version of Chambers allows for full text searching (unlike the app – unless someone knows something I’ve been missing), so I was able to come up with a list of 21 coinages/attributed-tos to play with. I decided early on that these would be clued as an anagram of the word plus its inventor, with the rough idea that each clue would be combining two elements into one new item would be vaguely coining and so thematic. That was then naturally continued into the device for generating the message in other clues.

Some choices were then constrained by that thematic device – Quark/James Joyce was a challenging anagram with a Q, K and two Js (“Ay, queer Jock jams” was the best I could come up with and didn’t seem good enough to me). Tiggywinkle and planxty were both tempting entries, but Chambers is cautious about their attribution, so I thought better of them. Of the remaining eighteen, I could get ten into the grid and reckoned that was a fair balance of thematic/non-thematic clues.

With hindsight, I wish I had not included “avoision”. My submitted clue anagrammed avoision/Institute of Economic Affairs (Is a mafioso act officious intervention?). Fortunately an eagle-eyed editor spotted that Chambers actually credits the Institution of…. Chambers is wrong, as it really is the Institute, but as Chambers is the reference for the puzzle and all other anagrams use the name exactly as given there, there seemed no alternative but to go with Institution. I thought that might raise some comments, but if anybody did spot it, they’ve been kind enough to let it pass.

My thanks to the editors for further improvements, and to all who’ve been kind enough to comment online and with entries – all feedback is greatly appreciated.


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