Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Season’s Greetings by Lionheart

Posted by shirleycurran on 13 Jan 2023

I see from Dave Hennings’ crossword database that this is Lionheart’s third Listener crossword and that the last one appeared at Christmas last year so we expect something seasonal – well, the title says that doesn’t it? We we’re expecting the editors to give us something relatively gentle for Christmas Eve but the first three lines of the preamble make us take a deep breath. Five different types of mistake and one in every clue!

I see from Dave Hennings’ crossword database that this is Lionheart’s third Listener crossword and that the last one appeared at Christmas last year so we expect something seasonal – well, the title says that doesn’t it? We were expecting the editors to give us something relatively gentle for Christmas Eve but the first three lines of the preamble make us take a deep breath. Five different types of mistake and one in every clue!

I work out how 11, 12 13,… up to …53, 54, 55 are going to spell out the letters A B C … … X Y Z, so it is clearly going to be important to identify the type of mistake in each clue and keep a record of them in pairs. Of course, I colour-code it and it’s almost like a Christmas tree when we finish.

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Solving is steady, though we are somewhat bemused by the solutions that we decide are not in standard dictionaries: ‘Typical man expresses rage in prayer to Mary’s partner (6, two words)’ We go for AVE JOE (average, less rage, and Joe for Joseph). We rather like the fish from Apple – I-SHARK. However, EALER, LEONEIST and REKILT seem to be pushing the boundaries, but we appreciate the MOOER (Noisy cow disturbed Romeo (5)).

We have more trouble with the four solutions that have to have ‘forgotten line(s)’ though when I work backwards from the message that emerges HAPPY CHRISTMAS DENIS NORDEN it is clear which they are and we add that line to ‘mousse’ giving ‘mousseline’, to ‘cabal’ giving ‘caballine’. to ‘on’ giving ‘on-line’ and to ‘SA’ giving ‘saline’.

Full grid and we spot RIK MAYALL at the foot of our grid. Having spent most of my life overseas, I haven’t much knowledge of either RIK MAYALL or DENIS NORDEN but fortunately I can. feed the two names into Google and grope my way towards the theme. ‘It’s all right on the night’, and, of course, I can find four cryptic examples of that in the grid.

Impressive and challenging. Many thanks to Lionheart.

Did I forget something? Of course, the alcohol. His clues were swimming in it weren’t they! We took the heading off the TOKAYS (whites, not reds!) giving us OKAYS in the third clue, then there was ‘spilt real ale, losing a litre’ and ‘flavoured wine’ in the clue that followed it, with ‘One abandoning another case in the van’. Cheers, Lionheart!

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