Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

No How by JFD

Posted by shirleycurran on 8 Apr 2022

We’re setting off before dawn tomorrow to head to the UK for the Listener setters’ dinner so I am wrting a speedy Friday evening solver’s blog. Speedy did I say – well, I’d better confirm first of all that JFD qualifies for the Listener setters’ elitist oenophile outfit, though I have little doubt, as my solution is in front of me and I see REAL ALE at 3d. That’s one thing John and Jane Henderson, who are yet again kindly organising the dinner at the rather superb Stirling Court Hotel, would insist on. (How do I know about the hotel when we haven’t even got there? Well we visited it when we were checking out universities for my younger son – lovely place!)

Already, skimming the clues, I had seen ‘Drink delaying start of East-West communication system (4)’ and the other Numpty put COLA in there saying the A of ACOL had to go in later. Cola? Hmmm! Maybe with a touch of rum? There were ‘bar returns’ in 42a. ‘Local exchanges okay among bar returns (7)’ YES for ‘okay’ went into SLOT< giving TOLSEYS which I understand are ‘local exchanges’. Further on we had ‘Prohibitionist takes on interest-free loan to help with recovery (6, two words)’ We opted for DRY OUT here. Things were looking gloomy until that REAL ALE appeared as ‘Drink improving in cask’. Well. cheers, JFD. Maybe see at the bar in Stirling?

Sheep are one of my specialities – I set the weekly Farmers Guardian crossword and they do seem to star in that as well as round our Yorkshire Dales ‘other’ home – and we couldn’t help seeing the MERINO, the Cheviot tegs, the AMMONS that became AMMANS (nicely thematic! Sheep turning into judges!) the Bleaters and the Soay and BAAING seemed to be the Soay accent, but we had a full grid before we sorted out that the message was in the language we use here “Revenons à nos moutons” I think it tends to mean ‘lets get back to brass tacks’ the way it’s used locally – but we looked it up on Wiki and found the name of PATHELIN and the fact that the defence answered every question with “Baaa”. So there were the thirteen letters. BAAING ANSWERS.

Finding the other thirty letters to highlight took a bit more grid-staring. We knew we had the MERINO and we saw a GIMMER and a backward TEG and we had changed AMMONS to AMMAMS but it took a while to understand that the ‘parties in the trial’ had to get ‘back’ to those sheep. Cleverstuff! Thank you JFD.


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