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Listener Crossword 4710  Surprised by Sabre

Posted by gillwinchcombe on 4 Jun 2022

“By the sword divided” describes, I think, the effect of Sabre puzzles on the crossword-solving community! I thought for a long time that I’d be one of the goats, but I hope I’ve limped into the victorious sheepfold for Sabre’s challenging & rewarding puzzle.

As Shirley, Dave and Vagans have noted, Sabre puzzles are tough! So I was delighted when two key turning-points appeared to help me along the way. First, it was very likely that there was only one possible construction; and second, the inspiration to flip the down answers came relatively early.

I was wrong on the first – like Vagans I initially chose the other configuration for the 5th and 12th down entries, but it let me enter enough to progress. Twigging the reversal of the down entries was a joy and a relief!

The clues were professional, succinct and very tough but fair. “Detective needing uniform to become quite brave” (BALLSY) held me up because I was trying to insert, not lose, U. Re-reading the clue, I see it makes good sense, and is typical of Sabre’s clever way of leaving clues open to multiple interpretations. “Land right before developing Covid-19” (FREEBOARD) also made me smile. I must also remember that alight can be IN as well as ON.

Surprised? I’m surprised & delighted to finish. And to guess that Surprised was an oblique reference to taken aback. Thanks Sabre – your sword has not lost its edge.


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