Listen With Others

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Not Again by Dysart

Posted by shirleycurran on 23 Sep 2022

What will Dysart be up to this time? His themes vary enormously. We’ve had a wonderful crossword (Magpie, that one) on the world’s rarest stamp, and one on the snake that came to D H Lawrence’s waterhole (Magpie too) as well as his last Listener on the Mount Olympus gods. ‘Not Again!’ is intriguing – but it certainly doesn’t refer to alcohol consumption. As usual I search the clues for evidence of that and only find the curiously repeated ‘porter’ in a couple of almost adjacent clues. Well, cheers, anyway, Dysart.

What we do find fairly quickly is the one clue that ‘consists of wordplay only’. ‘Dog briefly stopping to bury bone departed (13)’ leads us to put together CU[r] OS INTER and LATE, giving INTEROSCULATE. That’s rather a complicated word for KISS.

PLAY IT SAM appears down the left hand side of our grid (probably) and that would explain the title ‘Not Again!’ so we have a potential theme, that song from Casablanca:

You must remember this 
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh 
The fundamental things apply 
As time goes by 
And when two lovers woo 
They still say, “I love you”
On that you can rely 
No matter what the future brings 
As time goes by.

‘A kiss is just a kiss’. Roald Dahl’s Kiss Kiss used to be on our third-year reading list (the students revelled in some of those gruesome stories) so we see who the writer of the other unclued light is, and what to write below our grid and we are left with those clashing letters to sort out. TELECOM and LAMA give us COMMA (,); SALIQUE and HOARY give us QUERY (?); and TRIPLY and BOINGED give us PLING (!). Then we find three KISS words: POMACES and ASKING give SMACK; ABUSION and TASER give BUSS; and EPEES and OCKERS give PECK.

We have a quotation THAT’S BASIC SPELLING THAT EVERY WOMAN OUGHT TO KNOW. (Why ‘woman’ I wonder!) We need the Internet for this and find that Mistinguett said: “A kiss can be a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point. That’s basic spelling that every woman ought to know.” So there we have it.

We wonder whether we have to convert those three characters to Xs (yes – we spot ‘character’ in clue 31 ‘Simpsons character plugs face of islander (6) APU went into PAN to give PAPUAN) since, according to Minguett they can be kisses, but the preamble says that the quotation ‘explains why the three other symbols are different’ so we opt for three characters and three kisses. Thanks for the fun, Dysart!

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