Listen With Others

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Listener 4698 Late Arrival by Aragon

Posted by gillwinchcombe on 7 Mar 2022

As a (very) ex-chemist I was in my element with Late Arrival, despite Aragon’s challenging my poor grey cells with a carte blanche and jumbles and misprints! At least, I was once I had twigged the theme, which took me more than a little time. Carte blanches (cartes blanches?) are my favourite construct when the answers are in alphabetical order, which fortunately was the case with Late Arrival.

Normally, solving the 9-letter clues yields the structure of the grid but even with ABASHLESS, ARLINGHAM (Glos? a new one on me, it’s down Stroud way I’ve learned) and a punt at REDIVIDED, the jigsaw phase took longer than usual, and it wasn’t until I’d solved about 80% of the clues that I could feel confident that I wouldn’t have to erase the whole lot and start again.

I also made a meal of some of the clues. The 2nd one for example: “Porker, for one, caught trouble” led me a merry dance. I rejected ALE despite the “Porter” definition because I couldn’t untangle the wordplay. So I tried “Worker” leading to ANT, then “Yorker” defining ACE, and it wasn’t until ALE appeared in the grid that I realised catching means hearing and ALE is a homophone for AIL. I was also waylaid by the description of NME – I had “musical rag” for a while, giving an R in the message instead of M for mag.

Congratulations to Aragon for ensuring that all the final entries, apart from the 2 rows depicting the song, were real words – that couldn’t have been easy. I’m grateful too for that reference to “essential elements” which led me to the song even before I’d spotted Tom Lehrer in the grid.

Thanks Aragon for a very entertaining solve, and to Tom L for composing such a puzzle-setter’s delight. Great fun, both.

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