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Listener No 4640: Replacements by IOA

Posted by Dave Hennings on 22 Jan 2021

Most of IOA’s Listeners have been mathematical puzzles, although his first back in 2000, like this one, was a crossword. Here we had twelve answers requiring some sort of alteration before entry into the grid followed by a bit of highlighting.

The clues were normal so I expected solving to be fairly quick and the across clues were indeed generous. When I got to 40 Most of what 24 and 26 are, and one of the first in 28 (3), I thought it a bit unfair since I hadn’t got to 26 yet! [You didn’t need to. Ed. [I know that now.]] In fact, it turned out to be one of my favourite clues.

4dn soon revealed that 12ac CORONAL was probably one of the twelve needing to be altered, but bizarrely nothing seemed obvious. That was soon rectified once 5dn CARDI and 13dn CUES were slotted in, and LOCARNO seemed to be the answer. Off the top of my head I couldn’t think what had happened there.

The initial T of TROUT prevented me from seeing the straightforward HASTENS at 1dn Number behind has to speed up (6), after all, half the entry was given in the clue!

Quite a few clashes were making themselves known and they all seemed to be anagrams of cities or towns, but apart from sporting possibilities like Winter Olympics venues or football competitions, neither of which is my forte, nothing came to mind. Of course, when I belatedly got 1ac Note revealing image passing by (3) for RAY, anagramming to AYR, I assumed that the European nature of the places was the only linking feature.

As well as 40ac mentioned above, where one of the first in EDEN was EVE(n), my favourites were:

  • 32ac: Leader, primarily figure to the left (5) for LENIN [L(eader) + NINE<];
  • 7dn: First of players shows two aces and two kings? (5) for PAIRS [P(layers) + AIRS];
  • 19dn: Drunk in a cave, clutching litre bottle (8) for VALIANCE [(IN A CAVE)* around L]; and…
  • 34dn: Extra in A Man for All Seasons (4) for MORE [2 meanings].

Meanwhile, 22dn Silliest bird found here (7) INANEST made me muse on when ‘more/most’ is better than ‘-er/-est’!

As I finally highlighted the NW–SE diagonal AROUND EUROPE, I recalled the first puzzle of 2012, Dipper’s Fruitful Recipe when I forgot to highlight SOWE CARRETS in the main diagonal. I only realised that as I was writing my LWO blog!

No such mistake this time. Thanks, IOA.


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Replacements by IOA

Posted by shirleycurran on 22 Jan 2021

We were expecting a relatively gentle first Listener of the year so it was no surprise to see only two and a half lines of preamble – no ferocious Sabre or Elgin solve here. However, this is IOA’s seventh Listener crossword so he must be a member of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Elite, but I scan the clues to check, all the same.

It’s New Year’s Day so I imagine he wasn’t the only one celebrating ‘The drink of over a million bubbles at 21 (7, two words)’. We’ve solved 21 (Kent and Sussex region with top team that’s found at Brighton and Hove (7)’) as SEASIDE so we opt for SEA FOAM here and not the New Year Champagne, however, IOA is soon ‘Drunk in a cave , clutching litre bottle (8)’ and we anagram IN A CAVE around L to produce VALIANCE. How very nice – that bottle turns out to be courage, but I think there are sufficient grounds to raise our glasses – Cheers, IOA!

Solutions come thick and fast  and our grid is speedily filling but we are surprised when almost every solution we enter produces clashes with the ones it intersects with (except for the northeast corner). Still, we were rather slow on the uptake and it is only when I write the confirmed letters into a clean grid that we realize that those twelve answers that need to be altered to fit in the grid are all being jumbled, so that PAIRS, that we have just entered, becomes PARIS.

Penny-drop moment. It is a lively tour AROUND EUROPE that perhaps produces a slightly nostalgic (for the idiocy of BREXIT DAY) crossword that takes on a tour of European cities. We find LOCARNO, VENICE, TRIESTE, HASTINGS, PARIS, VALENCIA, ATHENS, ROME, FARO, NIMES and NICE and need to do a bit of head-scratching for the twelfth with ‘Note revealing image passing by (3)’. Then we find that RAY is an English spelling of the RE note and all is well. AYR is our final city (That’s where the fishes swim to from Troon, when the tide is full and fair, isn’t it?).

Very enjoyable – just the thing for that hangover after the litre bottle. Thank you IOA.


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