Listen With Others

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Listener 4753: 19 Down by Hedgesparrow

Posted by vaganslistener on 24 Mar 2023

THEe first puzzle I blogged on was 4701 so it seems I am now starting my second year. Poor readers. Do let me know when it is time to retire (again)…

It’s certainly not Hedgesparrow’s time to retire as this was a pitch-perfect puzzle for the Dinner weekend: an interesting theme, nice graphics, and not too hard to do during the hangover.

I couldn’t resist trying to find the extra words before tackling the clues themselves, and the double entry from them in fact meant that that wasn’t too difficult, so I had the messages and theme and a good idea of what the graphic would be before I tackled the grid proper.

At that point 11d was a (no doubt intentional) life-saver: an easy and unambiguous clue that could be inked in straight away. Building on that, and watching out for where the expected words of the graphic were forming, meant that the rest of the fill was quite quick as well, and the way the strings were handled was very neat. Fitting in so much thematic material led to a few less usual word choices (MAHE, ARIF – once I realised it wasn’t RAFI, also an Arabic name, ESRC and the wonderful SOSNOWIEC for instance) but it was worth it. The clueing was all fair and above board with the double action nicely lined up. I’m glad I don’t have to go on tour on with a monster, and try to avoid wearing lavender accessories with my CLERICALS, but both brought a smile.

Come again soon, Hedgesparrow!


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