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Whatsername by Ifor

Posted by shirleycurran on 21 Oct 2022

We expect a challenge with lots of complex manipulation of words when we meet an Ifor compilation and Oh My! That is what the preamble suggests to us. We will find extra letters or extra words and there are going to be 18 extra words that will divide into six sets of triplets, three of those spelling a birth name of a singer (Whatsername? the title asks) and the other three sets prompting us to synonyms that will give us a song title. The odd-numbered rows will contain 40 cells that we must highlight and most of those words will be ‘thematically arranged’ giving seven words that will differ from their clued answers. There will still be an answer to a question that will be written below the grid. Wow!

Indeed, I take a long breath and reach for the G and T – this looks like a long solve! Did I say ‘drink’? Of course Ifor will somehow retain his entry to the elite oenophile outfit, but as I read through the clues looking for proof, I find a CUP, ‘Something in hand for supper occupying narrow minds (3)’ That’s a generous clue by Iforian standards! We decide that ‘narrow’ is an extra word and that CUP is hidden (minded) by ‘occupying’.

But what goes into the cup? A pretty complicated clue, ‘Pardons temper of cod fisheries after loss of fees intermittently (5)’ tells us to select the ‘pardons’ as an extra word, and remove the letters of ‘fees’ from an anagram of ‘fisheries’ which leaves us IRISH. That’s more like it! Then I reach the final clues, ‘Stupefying drink before pain returns (4)’. Here we simply remove an A and turn the PIN and the A = ‘before’ to give NIPA. We’ll stick with the IRISH – Cheers, Ifor!

Soon we have 18 extracted words ‘favours, pardons, and titles’ give us GRACES, ‘functions, browns and beats’ give us TANS and ‘competitors, speciality and background’ give us FIELD and, of course WIKI tells us that GRACE STANSFIELD was the birth name of Gracie Fields. The other Numpty is a mine of trivial knowledge and says “Thingummybob?” Of course that makes it easier to sort out the other extra words: THIN ‘meagre, poor and narrow’, GUMMY ‘sticky, toothless and tacky’, and BOB, ‘refrain, dock and shilling’.

We find the song and recognise which words we are going to highlight, the DRILL, the HOLE that holds the RING, that drives the ROD, that turns the KNOB (so we turn BONK and remove one of those slightly dubious words – a friend asked me “Does the Times allow clues that the one that puts ARSE into SKY and gives us KARSEYS?” – the answer, with a smile, was “Obviously yes!”) the CUP that holds the OIL, the RING that takes the SHANK that turns the CRANK – and we find that we have forty cells. Yes, we have adjusted seven answers too since turning that CRANK changed four.

We haven’t finished. Those letters gave us a question: What can HER GENERATION make? Ifor is prompting us to angram it and that gives us THE ENGINE ROAR (yes, ‘singular’ we are told, so we don’t add Gracie Field’s S to the engine’). A fine Friday evening challenge, thank you Ifor!

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