Listen With Others

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Late Arrival by Aragon

Posted by shirleycurran on 4 Mar 2022

We muttered as we downloaded a carte blnche with ‘Clues are given in alphabetical order of their answers which must be entered where they will fit’. A further mutter when we read the word ‘jumble’ in the next sentence, then mutter, mutter, there was going to be a misprint in the definition of each clue. It got even worse – those were not going to spell out a message. Oh no! Aragon was insisting that we had to solve the entire crossword (or most of it) before grid order of those corrections would give us a ‘modified’ line of a song. Two blank cells would identify the ‘Late Arrival’ and we had to find and highlight a relevant name. Stiff drink needed!

Did I say “drink”? I’d better check whether Aragon retains his place in the Listener Oenophile Elite. He wastes no time: we find ‘hosts’ in the very first clue (though it takes a while to solve that important clue – I have colour-coded the grid lengths and matched them to clue lengths and found that it is the 4 and 9-letter solutions that are going to help us with our gridfill). ‘Article to glorify hosts remains forgotten without guile (9)’ We put A and BLESS around ASH and decide that ABASHLESS is without guilt, producing a corrected letter T. (But what a quaint word – we ask ourselves what it is doing there.)

Then comes the ‘Blood Alcohol Level – ‘Panamanian case: blood alcohol level constricting killers (7)’ A whole case of whatever is brewed in Panama? A quick Internet visit tels us that BALBOAS are the cash in Panama so the BOAS are the constricting killers and we have a corrected H (casE to casH).

Normal department: I’ve found it lacks spirit (4)’ comes next. So Aragon is on the hunt for spirits. We decide it’s the Norman department EURE and the spirit it lacks is KA, that crossword compiler’s favorite – so EUREKA! I’ve found it (clever clues these). Then we find ‘Man in pub sent back hemp for drug addicts? (5)’ We opt for heLp for drug addicts, and put the man HE in the BAR, giving REHAB. No lack of alcohol, so “Cheers, Aragon!”

With a full grid, we spot TOM LEHRER in the diagonal and the scientific Numpty immediately twigs the theme. “Lr is LAWRENCIUM”, he tells me. We’ve spotted the 102 as we solved but now have to tease out THESE ARE THE ONLY 102 OF WHICH THE NEWS HAS COME TO HARVARD. Of course we have the joy of listening again to the wonderful Lehrer song then we have to find the ‘essential contents of the song’s first four lines’ Antimony, Arsenic, Aluminium, Selenium etc., look up 28 letters that they provide, Sb, As, Al, Se, H, O, N, Re, Ni, Nd, Np, Ge, Fe, Am, Ru nd U, and find two lines of our grid that they can replace, jumbling just four words. Now, of course, we understand how that rather weird word ABASHLESS appeared at the start of our grid and AURUM – a new word for us.

What an entertaining compilation. Thank you Aragon.

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