Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Soldier On … by Demoniacal

Posted by shirleycurran on 14 Apr 2023

It looks as though we have a new Listener setter and maybe one or two original devices as well as a grid where we are going to erase ‘all letters … except the one not used as an extra letter’. Fore-warned is fore-armed and I jot down the alphabet, ready to highlight the letters we find as extras, and especially those that appear twice, which will indicate that their clues will swap places in the grid.

Yes, of course, I begin by checking that this new Listener setter earns his place amongst the elite of Listener setter oenophiles and he does just scrape in with ‘No longer complement beer by pub (6)’. WE put ALE X INN, producing ALEXIN and an extra N and Chambers tells us that ALEXIN is an obsolete word for ‘complement’. So “Cheers, Demoniacal!”

We soon find, because of clashes, that almost every clue we solve is wrongly numbered and it isn’t until we find a few shared extra letters (in OARED and STERN, for example) that we can begin to people our grid, but, of course, the gridfill becomes easier as we proceed and combinations like KLEENEXES, HIKE, HOOPLA and IRS (the abbreviation) give us some encouragement.

NOTHING BUT EAS appears as the ‘restriction from a play’ (at this stage this could be CEAS, KEAS, LEAS, PEAS, YEAS or ZEAS with ‘peas’ being the most likely, but in our ignorance, that tells us nothing and we need BUCHNER to appear in those circled letters and WOYZECK in the asterisked extra ones before we understand what is going on. Of course Wiki reveals all and tells us what to erase from our grid. Indeed, we have found all those 25 other letters as extra ones in the wordplay – even the difficult J, K, Q, X and Z – quite an achievement!

I wonder whether the W produced by those peas was meant to be the name of the play. I suspect a number of solvers will be happy that it is more difficult than usual to make a transcription error and Mr Green might have an easier task than usual. Thank you Demoniacal – a fine start!


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