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New Arrivals by Avian

Posted by shirleycurran on 25 Nov 2022

It didn’t take us long to suspect that Avian was not a new arrival, despite this being a debut Avian puzzle. It was just too clever for newbie and looked like the work of a couple of old hands (we have our suspects!). However, I still checked that Avian has an entry ticket for the next Listener Setters’ Oenophile Get-together and I found the grid absolutely swimming in alcohol. We needed something to accompany the STEAK DIANE that the other Numpty had already solved and the other half of that clue ‘admirer crashed red lion almost full of drunk Scots (10) gave us IDOLATER with an extra W in it (REDLIO(n) around WAT which Chambers tells us is ‘drunk’ for Scots). Chambers also tells us it’s an obsolete word for a hare so that Poat hare was creeping in – but did he need to with all those other little beasties that peopled the final grid?

We also had, in those clues ‘Irish spirit Europeans drink up in resorts’ ‘… French wine was all over flannel’ and ‘… drunk driver, half-cut, …’ all shared over two solutions, so Avian left little doubt. Cheers!

We found the device of letters moving to the other side of the grid very difficult, especially as those removed letters from the left could appear in any word on the right and, after hours of desultory solving, it was, surprisingly, the appearance of a potential FIVER, HAZEL and PIPKIN that gave me the hint and prompted us where to put that W in IDOLATER and how to solve 22d. ‘In packet say’ Well ‘In’ = HIP and a packet can be a SHIP. WATERSHIP DOWN! a great favourite of my nieces and what a Richard Adams gem.

Our grid was completed before we could work out that those three words that the displaced characters were seeking were LAND FOR WANDERERS and, of course, that cleverly anagrammed to SANDLEFORD WARREN where 5d HOUSING CRISIS occurred, and all those letters that I had been carefully recording at the right of my grid spelled that out too.

And rabbits, rabbits, rabbits! BIGWIG, ACORN and SILVER completed the team. What a stunning puzzle!


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