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Posts Tagged ‘Adair’

Duck by Vismut

Posted by shirleycurran on 31 May 2019

We have met Vismut before in an EV and a rather lovely IQ based on the Oranges and Lemons song but this is a Listener debut and we are at last welcoming a new lady setter, so I am delighted to see her pseudonym and download Duck. Rather anxiously, I scan her clues to see whether she gains entrance to the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit. There’s ITALIAN which is promising, in ‘A Turpin person possibly reversing arrest; mainly involved in criminality (7)’. We decide the P is extra giving us ‘a Turin’ person’ – then she ‘Tapes around 50 cases for change in Macau (7)’ Again we extract a letter and decide she’s tapping those 50 cases (PATS around A CA = PATACAS). No problem then, Cheers, Vismut!

Solving moves along steadily with the occasional smile. ‘Sunny? Hit a tidy lob (8)’ produces TABLOIDY (A TIDY LOB*) It’s the first time we’ve met that word in a Listener crossword but we do find it in the Big Red Book. SALLIS has us puzzled until we find that we have to replace the content of S(teven)S with A LL I to produce the voice of Wallace (of Wallace and Grommit). Nice!

We have also realized, quite early in our solve, that we are not entering any Es in the grid  and that rings a bell – PEREC’s LA DISPARITION. Sure enough, that fills 25 across and we have an inkling of the theme. So E is the ‘character’ that is ‘missing’ in the work. The letters we have removed before solving have spelled out PREMIER AUTEUR. I have kept a careful tally of where those redundant letters appear in their clues. This is a fine, original device. Applying them to LA DISPARITION (5, 1, 4, 5, 11 etc.) spells out SLIP INTO ADAIR. Wiki, of course, tells us that Gilbert ADAIR translated the novel into English and his name appears at the foot of the grid so we have to ‘SLIP’ PEREC into those cells.

We remove that ‘trace of translation’ as instructed in the preamble and replace it with PEREC – we have introduced a couple of Es – the missing character. However, there are five more cells to erase and they are symmetrically placed – A VOID, the title of Adair’s translation. Very neat indeed, all leaving real words, and now we understand the title ‘Duck’. What a fine debut. Many thanks to Vismut.

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