Listen With Others

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What’s My Line by Hawk

Posted by shirleycurran on 29 Jul 2022

The preamble suggested a ladder to me – two straight lines with ten more joining paired letters along these locations – but that was maybe just a little too simple for Hawk. We were to find 22 misprints (anywhere in the clue) identifying locations, as well as a series of clashes – and we weren’t told how many of those – and there was a final requirement to spot ‘an added application of the construction’ in something that would apparently be extra in two clues. Well, I’m up a ladder picking greengages now and then at the moment but this is clearly more complicated than that.

It didn’t take long for Hawk to confirm that he retains the entry ticket for the Listener setters’ oenophile elite. ‘Fancies whisky short after retiring at all’ gave us EVER reversed and RY(e) – the ‘whisky short’. Then he was onto Bacardi, ‘Ignore laughter when ordering Bacardi in foreign lingo’. It was Daughter (D) we had to ignore when we put Bacardi in order, and that gave us ARABIC and a corrected misprint. (He might just have issues if he tries to order his Bacardi in some Arabic countries!) ‘Ejecting regulars, sell pub, as not solvent’. We took the regulars of (s)E(l)L(p)U(b)A(s)N(o)T to give us the solvent ELUANT. He still hadn’t finished! ‘Serve defunct bar to brace a Zambezi dam. Now that was interesting, as our grid allowed KARIBA or ZARIBA and the K of Kariba clashed with the S of ‘tSetse’. It looked as though one of those clashes was going to produce a Z spelling TZETSE and ZARIBA as real words in our final grid. (Cheers, Hawk!)

Soon we had more clashes appearing in a curve shape: (BOTCH/ DRONED) suggesting I, (POLICEWOMAN/ BONNE) suggesting E and (HANGED/ READIES) suggesting R, so a name ending in ZIER – it had to be BEZIER. The corrected misprints were giving us TWELFTH ROW/ SW NE DIAGONAL so my simple ladder had to become a Bezier curve.

We were left with those tough clues in the north-west corner to complete and ten lines to draw. What an achievement for Hawk, not only to have produced those real words from the clashes, but also to have managed to get those ten letters along the twelfth row and the diagonal pairing up.

Finished? No, not quite. I went to bed worrying about that ‘added application of the construction’ and also trying to understand two clues we hadn’t sussed. ‘Lord in ecstasy round companion’ and ‘Report of trench mortar, possibly a weight on newsman’s shoulder’. They had given us DIE and MINI. Oh how sneaky! The CADDIE is the round companion and the newsman carries a MINICAM, so we had CAD CAM as extra elements and Chambers tells us about that. (I also have a rather clever great-nephew doing his doctorate in it at Durham Uni – should have spotted it!)

Many thanks, Hawk. Tough clues, we thought but a beautiful end game.

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