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Listener Crossword 4711   Cycle of Crime and Punishment by Aver

Posted by gillwinchcombe on 4 Jun 2022

What a rich and thematically-packed crossword. Mercifully it didn’t demand two years’ hard labour as Oscar Wilde endured, but gave me a full day’s satisfying toil. It had just enough “straight” clues to provide a framework for the cyclical ones, as well as for the phrases from the 7th verse of Wilde’s ballad of Reading Gaol.

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
  By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!

And how well Aver assimilated those phrases!

Indeed how neatly Aver constructed the whole puzzle! It maintained my interest throughout and enlightened me on a subject of which I had no more than a cursory awareness. I thought Aver made great use of the answer lengths in brackets to depict Wilde’s pseudonym (C.3.3, a reference to his cell location).

A couple of clues stand out for their clever before/after readings

  • 19 Board train to reach (teach) where one lives (HOMESCHOOL)
  • 5 Christian came (name) from abroad, dropping Indo-Germanic soul in France (FORENAME)

Cycle of Crime and Punishment wasn’t as tough as last week’s Sabre, but it was fascinating and no pushover. Thanks, Aver!


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