Listen With Others

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Listeners 4733 – 4736

Posted by gillwinchcombe on 3 Dec 2022

Life has been hectic and I’ve fallen behind with posting, so here is a bumper bundle, in reverse order, with apologies for their late arrival

Listener Crossword 4736 New Arrivals by Avian

With Skylark’s Cape sparrows (or swallows) from last week, and Avian’s name this week, my thoughts naturally turned to migration of birds.

So I tried solving the clues. Twenty minutes later I had not a single answer. Over the course of the following morning, I teased out 9 or 10 entries, and I resolved to keep going. Then HOUSING emerged from a half-completed grid, evoking memories of rabbits facing the destruction of their natural habitat and making a memorable journey. To or from Watership Down? I’d forgotten!

PIPKIN! That name rang a bell, and I quickly located HAZEL and BIGWIG. Guessing SILVER and FIVER from the first halves of their names, I was able to reverse engineer the tricky SE corner. I corrected some errors to give WATERSHIP (ah, the destination) and admired Avian’s clever LAND FOR WANDERERS/ SANDLEFORD WARREN construct. Finally, I spotted ACORN.

Job done. A beautiful, superbly constructed puzzle whose movement reflected that of the book. Congratulations to Avian.

Listener Crossword 4735 Spirit Time by Skylark

This was tougher than it looked, partly because the misprints were so well hidden. For example, in 20dn PLONGES, Accepting pint, briefly nuisance dives for Ed, “pint” could lead to “pine” as well as “pant”. And at 8dn, Faithful, once sincere, taking wine for rector, FEAL was my first choice for a long time. Touches like that lifted Skylark’s Spirit Time out of the ordinary for me.

Three of the titles were relatively easy to spot; THWORLD was harder but what a clever parsing of “Not the end of the world”. Also in my Chambers, a MOSSIE is a Cape sparrow rather than a swallow but it seems the editors knew better! No matter, and thanks go to Skylark for an enjoyable puzzle and a reminder to read more of Kate Atkinson’s books beyond Behind the Scenes at the Museum.

Listener 4734 Definition by Gnomish

Eek! I read the rubric with great trepidation – this is one of those Listeners where the only thing to do is take a deep breath, start cold-solving, and hope that there are enough accessible clues to not only give some entries but also show what’s going on.

And so it proved. It helped that I found the definition of SPACE reasonably early on, but the letters didn’t seem to be in the right order for the “flow”. Not letting a small issue like that worry me, I ploughed on, carefully counted (and re-counted) the intervening distances, bearing in mind the textbook telegraph pole problem, coloured the letters in my working grid and eventually reached the goal – the appearance of MATERIAL BODIES extending into the outer part of the grid. Reading “main grid” and, I hope, interpreting it correctly I erased everything apart from MATERIAL BODIES – fingers crossed!

A superb puzzle thanks to Gnomish, cleverly constructed and a great workout.

Listener 4733 Entry Form by Nudd

What a fun workout! More cryptanalysis than cruciverbalism but no worse for that. Fortunately, I spotted the Caesar shift fairly early on, or I would still be scratching my head!

I struggled over 16ac B[u]rrows wild dogs being short of a penny earlier: DINGOES/INGOES seemed a shoe-in but try as I might I couldn’t find this variation of the plural of INGO. That was of course because I was barking up the wrong tree, or rather down the wrong burrow, on the wrong continent, and the answer was actually (D)HOLES. Fair enough!

Once the Caesar shift emerged, I was able to reverse engineer some of the trickier clues. I found the symmetry helpful, although I’m glad I didn’t spot at the time that it wasn’t perfect or else I would be needlessly trying to redesign my whole grid!

Thanks go to Nudd for another superbly crafted and challenging puzzle. 

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