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Posts Tagged ‘November’

Not One by Nudd

Posted by shirleycurran on 19 Mar 2021

What a pleasure to see Nudd here again. We know this will be fun and have something graphic as the endgame. One of my favourite all-time crosswords was one of his that finished with a red-nosed reindeer in the grid and, of course, as half of Rood, he has been an Ascot Gold Cup Winner.

It is a rather unusual grid with no symmetry, though we are told we have to remove 18 symmetrically placed words from our completed grid and replace them with a large symbol. I am still busy creating a Crossword Compiler grid and hunting for alcohol as the other Numpty slots solutions in at a great rate – these are Nudd’s beautifuly generous clues.

There are 58 of them and I have been telling new setters that they have to try to stay below 45. There’s a low mean word length too – well below the desirable 5.5. Clearly there must be a reason for all of that – something to do with what we are going to highlight (and sure enough, fourteen of those words we ultimately remove from the grid are short ones and that large N explains the unusual grid, so all is forgiven.)

Ah well, Nudd is probably going to redeem himself with a healthy splattering of alcoholic clues. I work through them steadily, with growing angst as I find not a drop of the stuff. Nothing to do but solve and the grid fills steadily – until the other Numpty spots ‘Change nothing or plant [k]elp once at sea (8)’ and announces that it has to be ‘help’ so we have PORTOLAN (a navigational aid) and the PORT has sneaked in. Then what do I see at 41 (across) He has managed to include TOTS too! Tots of something worthwhile, I hope. We raise our glasses.

THOMAS appeared as the poet’s name early on but I wasted time hunting through all the Thomases who have written poetry before HOOD also appeared and we were able to tease out NO SHADE, NO SHINE as the opening words of one of his lines.

‘No shade, no shine,/ No butterflies, no bees,/ No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds — / November!’ (‘No!’ Written in 1844).

Our grid is full and now, knowing that I have to locate the Nato alphabet sign for November, the task of finding those butterflies is a pleasure (MONARCH, ARGUS), bees (DRONE), fruits (PEAR, LEMON, HAW, NUT), flowers (ASTER, ROSE), leaves (NEEDLE, KAT), and birds (ORTOLAN, TIT, DAW, HEN, OWL, LANNER, TUI) and, of course, I realise that there was the rosé cleverly squeezed in there; rather a summer wine for November – but then, this was a rather chilly February month for a November crossword, too, do ‘Cheers, Nudd, and thanks for a delightful compilation.

 

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