Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Compressor by KevGar

Posted by shirleycurran on 3 Feb 2023

Almost a carte blanche with just those symmetrical bars. ‘A number of answers must be altered in a certain way…’ “A number,” grumbled the other Numpty “we aren’t told how many.” but he was already finding rather a lot that had a letter too many for their cells, as I colour-coded my grid and clues, finding just two 12-letter answers, two 11s, and 2 8s. That was promising! And indeed, VICELESS, REPREHENSIVE, TERMITARIES, OVERLADE, PLEASURABLE and DODECAHEDRAL gave us the skeleton of our grid and before long we had that ‘skeleton’ grid with fifteen words that were too long for their slots and not much idea what to do with BRIDOONS, BITTERNS, BLENNIES or HEAVERS.

Clearly, we needed to lose a letter, but which? It was POU?E?? that made that penny drop (or the triangle ting, or whatever the musical equivalent is) POULENC, and that was clearly an anagram of OPULENCE with one extra E. Composers rapidly filled the rest of the grid and we had most of the corrected misprints: enough to work out the message SORT DISCARDS INTO TWO MORE …

“COMPRESSOR – that gives us ‘composers’ with a thematic extra R!” So we listed our fifteen composers and the extra letters and had a rather obvious SCHUMANN and a puzzling SCHUBET left over. “Doh!” Second penny-drop moment. That R of the title was discarded too – this was almost worthy of the ‘Poat hare trophy’ – the award for the sneakiest setter trick, commemorating that ‘hare’ who sneaked into Poat’s preamble some years ago.

But we have to admire the skill that went into this compilation – the calculation of the number of composers and finding those that would produce the necessary letters to give the last two. Probably that justifies the pretty obscure words we were still hunting for when our grid was practically full. We had EAV?E ‘Wager on each name, nom for a boy (5)’. The misprint message had told us that it was noT for a boy so we had to opt for EAVIE which Wiki tells us is a girl’s name. ?AEDI in the ODE produced MAEDI – some sort of sheep disease – but the clue wanted us to find an ‘Ancient tribe rooted in in northern Galicia’. Again Wiki helped when we inverted ‘plan B’ to get BAEDI.

No, I’m not grumbling – I’m raising a glass or two to KevGar for this accomplished compilation. Indeed he qualified for the oenophile outfit: ‘Shoulder’s rum, heal with treatment (6)’ gave us the HUMERAL that changed to MAHLER, then ‘Old English mead, thrilling liquid that causes blotting (6)’ It gave us OEDEMA (that causes bloAting). With that rum and mead, Cheers, KevGar!


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