Listen With Others

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Listener 4727 Not Again! By Dysart

Posted by vaganslistener on 23 Sep 2022

Good: another puzzle from Andy Stewart. No, not the musician, but Dysart, who has set a long list of them in all the usual barred crossword outlets since 2006. His last Listener was 4683 last October which took us to Mount Olympus. Where will we be going this time?

I was very slow off the mark finding out, mainly because there was a lot else going on, but also because I was misled by the talk of symbols, and finding a PLING (!) in 21a/12d, started to think that (not again) it was a puzzle based on a maths equation.

Not so. Once I got some focus and concentrated on extricating the message from the extra words in the down clues (solving some and guessing others) I found that THAT’S BASIC SPELLING THAT EVERY WOMAN OUGHT TO KNOW, and Mr Google quickyl completed that telling us that A KISS CAN BE A COMMA A QUESTION MARK OR AN EXCLAMATION POINT, as explained by Mistinguett. So – COMMA, QUERY and PLING symmetrically disposed on the fifth row down, and probably three kisses (which turned out to be SMACK BUSS and PECK) similarly arranged in the bottom half of the grid (as they nearly were).

That speeded things up immensely and soon Roald DAHL (author of KISS KISS, to be entered below the grid) emerged as one unclued entry, and (with a bit more pondering) PLAY IT SAM as the other, referencing A KISS IS STILL A KISS, the second line of “As Time Goes By” which was what Sam played in Casablanca.

The wordplay-only clue was 1a INTEROSCULATE (“kiss” in a particular sense), and 44a “Elderly English suitor, clipped badly? Hurtfully!” contained the three symbols from row 5.

A “fruit salad” sort of theme, then, blending diverse examples of the theme into a tasy whole, with high quality clueing to back it up the rich thematic offering. Thanks Dysart, and I’m sure we’ll not be saying “Not again” when we see you next time.

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