Listen With Others

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Listener 4742: Short Seats by Yorick (and an answer short of something else too)

Posted by vaganslistener on 6 Jan 2023

Ouch! This was a tremendous puzzle, but I suspect I was not the only one finding that completing the very difficult offerings in the Magpie this month plus all else that Christmas brings had left me hoping for a gentler ride. Perhaps next week will bring some cheery festive fun that can be cracked within the duration of a chocolate éclair…

The title and preamble had been designed to give nothing away, so there was nothing to do except dive in and start putting in what words I could. The clues were good and fair, but no walkover, so that took some time. Why did it take me so long to realise that Daniel’s “successor” was HOSEA? 1S GET ROUND (“Persuade to buy all drinks”) brought a welcome smile once the penny dropped, as did the TEACAKE at 4Sto keep me going (“Roll with gloss photograph contains a piece lacking Ricoh’s finish”), and it was a surprise to find 19ECADFAEL “Taking cocaine with marijuana, US lawman recalled investigating herbalist”. I was pleased as well to discover that in 32W “slop” is an informal word for a CASSOCK, which I am sure I can work into vestry banter at the cathedral before too long.

But with so much going on the grid, the fill was slow. A few of the clashing squares started to come into focus, and I was misled for a while by the potential SOLO in the third square of the top row, before eventually I understood that we had a series of 4-letter capitals (“SHORT SEATS”), placed in a reasonable approximation to their geographical location. Very clever! And even cleverer when the penny finally dropped that choosing the right letter from them would create the three-letter codes of their relevant countries. Yorick must have been well pleased when what was a cool idea worked out so well, even if the resulting grid is a bit of a pot pourri. Thankfully there was a box at the bottom of the grid to remind me to enter four more 4-letter capitals before I rubbed out my working and lost the letters for ever. Confession time, though: I did, however, forget to HIGHLIGHT the codes, to round off a flurry of slips at the end of the year.

Whew! Back to wrapping presents and making sure my sermon and kit were in the bag for the Midnight Mass, and wondering if I will get a couple of quieter days before the family invasion begins. Oh no: an email has just announced that the proofs of a large book on Robert Grosseteste have arrived, to be returned by mid-January. Three cheers that I am just one of the team checking them, but nice timing, OUP! The seasonal tippling will have to wait a bit longer.

Big thanks to Yorick and best wishes for the New Year.

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