Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

19 Down by Hedge-sparrow

Posted by shirleycurran on 24 Mar 2023

It is the eve of the Listener Setters’ annual dinner when we download this and, as we like to solve on Friday evening, we are starting just before midnight after one of the lively pre-dinner events (after meeting in the Bar of the Bristol Mercure Grand hotel, the early birds wandered down to the Stable for more food and alcohol) Ah yes, birds – that is often a Hedge-sparrow theme – but does he maintain his place in the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Elite? I scan the clues: some lovely surface readings here and the alcohol flows!

‘Chief ingredient: vile, frightful inferior gin I put in roulade (4)’. We have to find two solutions divided by an extra word whose first and last letters will spell out ‘a thematic work and most of its participants’. We opt for BASE as the ‘chief ingedient’ and RUIN as that inferior gin, with ‘frightful’ giving us an FR. Hmmm! Not impressed by the inferior gin, Hedge-sparrow. Nor is he as we now find ‘Drunk, carelessly relaxed politician exits exotic Asian chariot, one led by horse (5)’ We take MP out of ‘slumped’ and get SLUED together with ARABA and get extra letters EC from ‘exotic’. Oh dear, now we read ‘Warrant regrettably served on earl, noble drunk reduced to confusion protecting aged brood (7)’ ‘served’ and the E of ‘earl’ anagram to DESERVE and we are left with PIE-EYED and the NE of ‘noble’ adding to our message.

‘Drunk’ on ‘inferior gin’, ‘slued’ and ‘pie-eyed’ and he hasn’t finished! Now it’s ‘rotgut’ that we extract from ‘Cry about slice of birthday cake that’s soaked in liquor – rotgut – cut into cubes (except the top) and frosted (4)’ That has to be BABA and (d)ICED with the ‘rotgut’ giving us RT. It is a rather muted ‘Cheers, Hedge-sparrow – on all that frightful alcohol!

However, we have a message: INTRODUCTION AND ALLEGRO, FLUTE, CLARINET, STRING QUARTET and Wiki tells us that is a work by RAVEL (So often we learn something from the Listener crosswords we solve!)

‘Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet and String Quartet (French: Introduction et allegro pour harpe, flûte, clarinette et quatuor) is a chamber work by Maurice Ravel. It is a short piece, typically lasting between ten and eleven minutes in performance. It was commissioned in 1905 by the Érard harp manufacturers to showcase their instruments, and has been described as a miniature harp concerto. The premiere was in Paris on 22 February 1907.’

We have DOUBLE ACT as 19 Down and are told that we have to include those letters in a loop of 29 cells. We know that we are looking for a HARP and RAVEL (and an ‘article’) and there it is! What an achievement to have the strings linking the CDEFGABC! It was 2 a.m. by now on Listener Dinner Day and I almost forgot to look for the thematic item’s inventor ERARD.

What a lovely compilation. Thank you, Hedge-sparrow.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: