Listen With Others

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Listener 4758: Tunnel Vision 2 by Chalicea

Posted by vaganslistener on 28 Apr 2023

Confession time: I saw this puzzle at an earlier stage, so despite my failing memory it started to seem familiar rather quickly, and I was able to romp home at speed. A few things had changed so it’s as well I didn’t just ink in the earlier solution though…

And not a caterpillar in sight (see Listener 4701 “Tunnel Vision”); nor a RORSCHACH TEST (10d) to depict, but a return to one of Chalicea’s favourite theme, Isambard (watch the spelling) Kingdom Brunel, following on from Inquisitor 1204 “Non-standard”, Listener 4601 “The Name of the Game” and Magpie 219.5 “Precipitation”.

And a classic Chalicea it was too. Exquisitely neat construction in both the grid, fitting the thematic material in perfectly, and in the clues, working in the “ninth letter of down clues” gimmick with barely a hiccup in the surface readings. 

The clueing was straightforward, as it nearly always with Chalicea, but faultless, and as I’ve said before I think the Listener series, despite its billing as “the hardest”, benefits from a range of difficulty levels.

And did you spot the Easter Egg (I suppose it must have been deliberate*)? Urban myth has it that the sunrise in question shone its light straight the tunnel on Brunel’s birthday. But Wikipedia assures us that, “GWR franchise rebutted the theory that the rising sun passed through the tunnel on Isambard Brunel’s 9 April birthday, finding in 2017 that the sunrise did not shine fully through the tunnel. Librarian C.P. Atkins calculated in 1985 that full illumination through Box Tunnel would occur on 7 April in non-Leap years and on 6 April in Leap years.” Now look at row 7 again and see how C ATKINS had left his mark.

*Stop press: it was indeed a Chalicean Easter Egg 😊


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