Listen With Others

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Listener No 4701, T Maker by KevGar

Posted by vaganslistener on 25 Mar 2022

If you’d like to blog regularly, said Dave, let me know… Well, I enjoy writing and blogging, but life has a few other interests in it, so not every week – and anyway, while I usually complete a Listener, slips can creep in. Do I want to show them off to the General Public? On the other hand, perhaps it will encourage newer solvers if they realise that even experienced ones get things wrong. So here goes with my take on T Maker.

I sometimes play a game when I start one of these crosswords, which is to see if I can guess the theme without solving any clues, and while I can be very wrong, I do sometimes get it right. And so it was this time. On the basis of the word “unscrupulous” and a large dose of intuition, the possibility of monetary symbols or words being the added and removed items popped into my mind. Then a big PDM gave me T(ROUBLE) MAKER as the title, and 1a just had to be MONEY CHANGER didn’t it?

There was only one way to check and that was to start solving some down clues. NASTY, YAMA, and GARRAN went in quickly, and I was away. Or I thought I was. The solve soon turned into a game of two halves, if that phrase can be used when the halves were so unequal, because while the clues were fair enough and not particularly tortuous, I soon hit boggy ground because while for a setter it can be great fun – and probably was – finding all the alterable/altered words, as solvers we find ourselves working with a large set of possible words, without a nice easy official list (at the back of Chambers for instance: hint, hint); and it can be a bit of a grind. (Or was I just wanting to crack on and have a last drink before Lent began…)

That said, kudos to KevGar for coming up with an impressive set of words, and actually not too obscure or difficult. For the record the manipulated words I think I saw were C(ORE)D [deseeded], SWEE(RED) [swing], BE(SOM) [broom], MARK(HORS) [goat], SOL(ERA) [years], (SEN)HORA (dance), RE(SUM)ED [pipe], MA(LARI)A [disease], (WON)GA(WON)GA [pigeon], UN(AVO)CE [weight], F(ORE)ARM [prepare], (PYA)T [magpie], TIRE(SOM)E [boring], BE(AT)INGS [people], F(LEU)RET [vex] and L(AT)EN [man].

My favourites: MARKHORS for introducing me to a new word, WONGAWONGA for fun, and FLEURET for neatness. My bêtes noires, TIRESOME (because I tried to make it TREASURE), IRONY (because it isn’t always an element of satire) and HORA (because I just took too long to twig it). A trap I was worried about: CORED, because CURED would have worked too, until I paired it up with “deseeded”.

Many thanks to KevGar for not too trouble-making puzzle after all.

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