Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

XPS by Karla

Posted by shirleycurran on 17 Feb 2023

We’ve had a range of themes in Karla’s four previous Listener crosswords, including ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star’ where we had to create the music, so we really don’t know what to expect. There’s a mutter from the other Numpty about a mishmash of clue types (extra letters in wordplay that have to move sideways or downwards out of the grid, misprints where we have to remember to opt for the INcorrect letters and have to read alternately – across then down clue misprints, to get an instruction, seven thematic pairs to find of two different types, then finally artwork!)

Meanwhile, I’m busy reading through the clues to confirm Karla’s adherence to the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Crew, and of course I find the evidence: ‘Drink knocked essentially gets a smart whap (4)’. No problem there; we opt for ALE and (kno)C(ked) and decide he’s a ‘smart Chap’, though it’s the misprinted W we need to use. Well, “Cheers! Karla.”

What else do I find? ‘Some bunnies are so inclined to eat their skinned cousins (8)’ Those skinned cousins just have to be (h)ARE(s) and we decide that SLOPED = inclined so that the bunnies are LOP-EARED with the S moving down to the foot of the grid. Over the years, I have grown rather fond of the little Poat Hare who has a tendency to turn up in Listener crossword puzzles but I’m rather troubled to have him skinned and consumed by some bunnies.

Fine clues and the grid fills steadily but we really get ourselves into a mess with a red herring. ‘Harbour surrounding each local’s lively (5)’ We decide that the local’s ‘lively’ has an O for I misprint – she’s ‘lOvely’ and BUT (third Chambers definition) can be ‘harbour’ or ‘shelter’, so we put that around EA and get the local, or dialect BEAUT. That really throws our message where we have to DRAW IOPDS etc. Oh dear, oh dear! That also leaves us hunting for a final PEA. Yes, GREGOR MENDEL had leapt out at us (needing the letters of GREEN) and PISUM SATIVUM filled the extra row at the foot of the grid so we realized that the XPS were ‘cross peas’.

The grid was full of peas: STRING, SNOW, SPLIT, PIGEON, DESERT and SWEET and when we had realized that we needed PEART at 16 across, all became clear and we saw our four intersecting pods of peas and that we had to DRAW PODS AROUND PEAS. Nice one, Karla!


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