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Posts Tagged ‘Death in the Afternoon’

Listener No 4511: Death in the Afternoon by Little Hare

Posted by Dave Hennings on 3 Aug 2018

This week we had Little Hare’s second Listener, his first being based on Housman’s “When I was twenty-one…” from A Shropshire Lad . Here we had a title that made me think of an Agatha Christie novel, which wasn’t surprising given the number of books she wrote, most of them about death — Death in the Clouds, Death on the Nile, Death Comes as the End, etc, etc. Unfortunately, Death in the Afternoon wasn’t one of them. That was by… but I jump ahead.

In four clues, we had to remove a string of letters and unjumble them to reveal “four connected individuals.” Twelve others had misprints in their definitions. That left twenty that were normal.

1ac Cooked committee rissole, ditching fish and chips (6) looked as though it had a hidden sequence of letters in it, but it failed to make sense for me. I was lucky with 5ac By settling, does sway people initially in universal votes (6) where a bit of doodling of P and U and AYES/YEAS/NAYS/NOES finally helped me to see UNPAYS with the misprint correction by settling, does away. (A lot to be said for doodling.)

Unfortunately, most of the remainder of across clues left me floundering. 16ac Uses the rawhide strip that is discovered in Madagascar (4) and 23ac Ed’s worked back in Middle Temple (4) obviously led to RIEM (IE in RM) and TELD (hidden reverse), although I failed to note the extra letters in the former and misprint in the latter!

As it was, the left-hand side of the grid came together much quicker than the right, where there were some devious clues. Top of the list was 28ac Rebuffed son accepted girlfriend over late gala: dad sues regulator (5) which made absolutely no sense at all. In fact, it turned out to be my favourite clue with Daedalus needing to be removed to show the clue as Rebuffed son accepted girlfriend over late gala: dad sues regulator (5)!

For me, that last clue needed almost a full grid and the phrase to be discovered from misprint corrections: Ariadne’s clue. We were in the land of Theseus, his labyrinth and the Minotaur. 1ac did not, in fact, contain the jumble of one of the individuals, being just an anagram of COM (for committee) and RIS. The other characters were revealed by 16ac with its anagram of Uses the, 31ac With Darius, caring for wild herbs possessing hollow stalks (9) for PROWESSED but missing Icarus* and 8dn Remains near aid and bows (6) for STICKS and Ariadne*.

The clue in the message referred to the meaning given under clew in Chambers: “a ball of thread, or the thread in it (archaic)”, which was used by Theseus to retrace his steps in the maze. It didn’t take long to find THREAD OF ARIADNE in the grid, snaking down from STICKS and ending in a middle arena.

I have to say that I found the use of the word arena a bit confusing. I guessed it was just referring to the central region, with its arrangement of bars perhaps representing the labyrinth but I wondered if it had a deeper meaning. Anyway, there was the MINOTAUR reading left then right and needing to be erased. DAEDALUS, on the other hand, who supposedly designed the labyrinth, could be seen running up column 1. That just left ICARUS (“who does not survive”) to be entered beneath the grid.

The title referred to a book by Ernest Hemingway on the tradition and ceremonies of bull-fighting, supposedly one of the best on the subject. Who am I to argue.

Thanks for a fun puzzle, LH.


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Death in the Afternoon by Little Hare

Posted by shirleycurran on 3 Aug 2018

No sign of that elusive little hare for over six months then what do we have here? Death in the Afternoon by Little Hare! That sounds like something to do with bullfighting and Hemingway. I scan the grid to see whether Little Hares consume enough to retain access to the Listener Setters’ toping set-up and find evidence a-plenty and also a reference to that novel: ‘Quitting university, journo starts to edit Ernest’s novel Bullfighting with Horses (7)’ What a clever clue! That gives us JOURNO less U anagrammed (novel) with E(dit) E(nest) and we get REJONEO which Chambers tells me is Bullfighting on horseback with rejones. Of course the Hare is offering a red herring.

‘This person who hands out absinthe could be a born hedonist (5)’ provides a subtractive anagram and A BORN HEDONIST less ABSINTHE gives us DONOR. (Yes, the Hare was continuing his red herring and prompting us to look for Hemingway’s lethal cocktail of absinthe and champagne wasn’t he – and we were caught.) ‘Rocky landscape in Japan where one is into – and after – the local wine (6)’ puts two Is into SAKE giving SAIKEI, which Chambers tells me is a miniature Japanese landscape. Not content with absinthe and sake, the Hare moves onto whiskey: ‘Unionist hastened to secure shot of whiskey, a malt (6)’. Disappointment when that turns out to be one of the misprints giving us U(nionist) + RAN + IN = URANIN, a salt. ‘Natural growth in a vineyard in California (7)’ gives us A CRU in CAL = ACCRUAL. The hare must be tipsy by now but is still producing first-rate clues. ‘Soundproof superior bar Henry put in cave (6)’ tells us to bar the H from HEAD and put it into a DEN, so DEADEN. ‘Teeming with Clara’s rum (6)’ gives us W + CLARA* = ACRAWL. This certainly was a record pub crawl! Cheers Little Hare!

As we solved, we have been spotting those extra jumbles of names in the clues. ‘GaLA: DAD SUEs regulator (5)’ gave us an extra DAEDALUS as well as OFGAS, the gas regulating body. USES THE rawhide strip that is discovered in Madagascar (4)’ produced THESEUS as well as RIEM. ‘Remains NEAR AID and bows (6)’ put ARIADNE into 8d, ‘her clue’ where her thread was to start – and what a superb CLUE or CLEW it was. Chambers tells me that a clue is ‘a thread that guides through a labyrinth! (Yes, Listener clues are so often that for us!) ICARUS has to be our fourth character, the one who does not survive. We find him ‘With daRIUS CAring for wild herbs possessing hollow stalks (9)’ putting PRO and WEED round S(talk)S to give PROWESSED = ‘with daring’. Poor ICARUS. We also find him under the SEA in our grid with DAEDALUS steering up the left hand side, safely far from the SUN that is shining at the top.

We trace our CLUE, THREAD OF ARIADNE following diagonally contiguous cells to the arena where, of course, the MINOTAUR is boustrophedonally lurking and, like THESEUS, we eliminate him. What a thematically rich grid! Many thanks, Little Hare!

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‘Death in the Afternoon’ by Little Hare

Posted by Encota on 3 Aug 2018

Clearly this week’s Title or Title Plus Setter contained secret messages, in jumbled form:

1. To those who thought they’d recovered from the nightmare of a previous Listener: “No, not the defiant Hare!”

2. A passing reference to the World Cup final on the weekend of publication: “The Football entertained any hither”

3. What happened after the attempted escape from Crete, from the wings‘ point of view: “Rent, their Athenian boy fell to death”

4. Heartless newspaper headline the following day: “The lofty Athenian – no terrible death?”

Or not.

2018-07-16 08.31.00


Tim / Encota

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