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Posts Tagged ‘Fillet of Plaice’

Bros by Vismut

Posted by shirleycurran on 7 February 2020

What a pleasure to download a Listener crossword by one of the very few lady Listener setters. It must be our month to celebrate as Crossword Editor John Henderson, in his short text underneath today’s Inquisitor Crossword in the I, announces that he is dedicating today’s Nutmeg crossword and the next three to his four female setters Nutmeg, Vismut, Chalicea and Skylark. We ladies (the same four who actively set Listener crosswords) have doubled in number with the arrival of Vismut and Skylark and must now make up more than 5% of Listener setters – how about that!

Reason to celebrate, so of course I begin by checking Vismut’s right of admission to the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit. I find her .’.. switching bistros to eat nachos primarily (5)’. We decide that is CAFES that has to absorb an N(achos) giving CANES = SWITCHES and producing an extra F. Soon afterwards we find ‘Public exposed drink with artist, at aforementioned location (8, two words)’. We use (p)UB[L]I + SUP + RA = UBI SUPRA (in one of those bistros up above!) with an extra L.  So cheers, Vismut. Let’s raise a glass to the ladies.

We had already had a Numpty mutter about the rather ugly and ungenerous grid, with two crenelated lines of bars almost splitting it into two mini grids with one 13-letter word between them (fortunately Vismut is generous with her anagrams and that soon gave us OBSTETRICIANS with the L of coLts needing an I  and giving us two misprint letters). We muttered too about the excess of devices, almost all of them in the clues rather than the grid – extra words with an attached device about the position of a name in its clue, extra letters in wordplay and misprints. Full praise, though to Vismut for courageously taking on the difficult task of using both the misprint and the corrected letter to  give two 21-letter strands giving two related names and titles.

We got down to solving and soon had the strands, using one letter from each of MOTHER, PLATO. MARGO and LESLIE in each of the strands. Yes, Margo and Plato prompted us that it was the DURRELLs and a little Internet research told us that ‘Sitting on a beach in Corfu, Gerald Durrell discussed with his brother, Lawrence, what to call his compilation of stories. Lawrence who had recently published his own compilation of letters called Spirit of Place, suggested Fillets of Place’. We had LAWRENCE SPIRIT OF PLACE and FILLETS OF PLAICE GERALD.

Full marks too, Vismut for neatly spreading those extra wordplay letter into alternate down clues. A FAMILY NAME. We had SURNAME in the leading diagonal of the grid (where else !) and saw with delight, that DURRELL would replace those letters, maintaining real words. That is always an admirable touch so many thanks to Vismut.

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