Listen With Others

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Holiday Horrors: Listener 4723: Faux Pas by Tringa

Posted by vaganslistener on 26 Aug 2022

Welcome back Tringa! We last saw you in “Ancient Mariner” (4615) back in July 2020 – which was actually about Wine and Water, a poem by G K Chesterton with the refrain “I don’t care where the water goes if it doesn’t get into the wine” – so we hope all’s been well since then. More drink this time? Well, “more tea, Vicar” might have been offer but all we were to see were the comestibles accompanying it, along with a Big Trap for the unwary visitor to the South-West.

The preamble told us that the central column was thematic and to be completed without clue, while six clued downs were also thematic, and there were no less than 19 clashes to be found, with what seemed a complicated process to resolve them and make further changes to avoid the FAUX PAS.

The clues were a cheerful bunch and gave up their answers fairly easily, despite the clashes, though 4d and 33d were decidedly tricky. “View excerpts from the opera”, was SCENE  – a double definiton using the plural of SCENA, really nasty if you were trying to parse accurately and represent the plural of “excerpts” and ruled the singular “scene” out –  and “The Snowbird contralto donning queenly character” was JUNCO with JUNO around O. And no I hadn’t heard of the bird either.

The fun and challenge of the endgame then began. Fortunately I saw AXMINSTER and HONITON on the right hand side of the grid and thought “Devon” (and remembered BEER was a village there with a famous model railway works), and the central column had to be THE RIVER TAMAR. Where were the Cornish words on the left? The LIZARD was obvious but I needed Mr Google’s help to dsicover that BUGLE and MULLION were Cornish villages. It really is another country down there.

The first grid I’ve reproduced is my working one before the final transformation and thank goodness Tringa flagged the need for that or I would have offended both the Devonians and the Cornish by getting my scone toppings upside down in the columns either side of the Tamar. Reversing them miraculously produced real words and the final grid, though, and all was well.

Thanks for the seasonal fun, Tringa, and a very neatly constructed puzzle. Can I tempt you to a pikelet, though, or a nice piece of fruit cake with Wensleydale cheese?

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