Listen With Others

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Spirit Time by Skylark

Posted by shirleycurran on 18 Nov 2022

It is always a pleasure to see a crossword from one of the very few lady setters and there was an added grunt of delight from the other Numpty when we saw just three lines of preamble with, apparently, only one gimmick – a misprint in every clue that must be corrected before solving (though indeed, there was another gimmick when those corrected letters spelled out SHADE FOUR TITLES SEEN CRYPTICALLY PLUS AUTHOR’S NAME.

That, of course, came later. First I had to check that Skylark retains her place in the Listener Setters’ Oenophile League. She didn’t leave any doubt. ‘Opens one Parisian Brasserie in centre, hiring cook (6)’ We changed that to ‘hiding’ cook – or DO and put that into UNE and the heart of the brasSerie to give us UNDOES. ‘Boldly talks of risks in drink (8, two words) gave us risEs or PEAKS in SUP, so SPEAKS UP. The alcohol continued: ‘Faithful, once sincere, taking wine for rector (4)’ We decided the Wine had to be Line and REAL became LEAL. ‘Drinks in Glasgow involved peanuts after departure of unruly pet (4)’. That pEt had to become pUt to give us the Scottish version of ONES – ANES as a subtractive anagram. Alcohol flowing! Cheers, Skylark.

Solving moved steadily ahead and when we had read that we had to SHADE … AUTHORS NAME we saw ATKINSON in the diagonal. A few possibilities presented themselves – DIANE, GRACE and SHANE – but the K that went in with OKTAS told us that we were to find four titles of Kate Atkinson’s novels presented cryptically in the grid. Three appeared at once: ‘A God in Ruins’ (Yes, I saw that the Poat hare had sneaked onto the cover!), ‘Emotionally Weird’ and ‘One Good Turn’. Finding ‘Not the End of the World’ took us a little longer. Nice one, Skylark!

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