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Listener 4755: Self-contained (or ESELFCONTAD) by Woracle

Posted by vaganslistener on 7 Apr 2023

Welcome back Woracle! We met quite a few times in the Crossword Club magazine between 2017 and 2020 but your last Listener was in 2005, before I had ever tried one. 

An admirably short preamble and teasingly opaque title launched us straight into the puzzle. Luckily I looked at the enumerations to see if the treatments affected them, and since Woracle kindly supplied word-lenghts not answer-lengths, was able to pencil a line through the nine relevant lights.

Having identified them, I couldn’t resist trying to work out what was going on straightaway, and to my joy 14a gave the game away (I hoped) immediately; and in fact I pencilled in potential answers to all of them except 16d, and soon found that the crossing words fitted very nicely. Those crossing words gave me ?IGOLHP was 16d, but what was the first (unchecked) letter? This was bear-trap territory so it was essential to come up with an accurate wordplay, but what? Waiting for that penny to drop took as long as the rest of the puzzle. My final set of affected words was:

14a      TAILBACK = TAIL< = LIAT

36a      BILINGUAL = BIL in GUAL =  GUBILAL

44a      WELL-ROUNDED = WELL round ED = WEEDLL

5d        HEREABOUTS = HERE about S =  HESRE

8d        OVERTURNS = OVERT =  REVO

11d      MISUNDERSTOOD = MIS under STOOD = STOODMIS

16d      PHLOGISTON = PHLOGI read N(orth) TO S(outh) = IGOLHP

35d      PYRAMIDAL = PUYR amid AL = APYRL

38d      CARTWHEELS = CART< =  TRAC          

A very generous helping of anagrams in a mostly straightforward set of clues led to an early finish but a lot of fun too, with liquor and ale for the Numpties’ club and tea for those of who are off them for Lent. Many thanks Woracle and call back soon.

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