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Posts Tagged ‘Something in Common’

Something in Common by Lionheart

Posted by shirleycurran on 14 Jan 2022

Somewhat naïvely, as today (Christmas Day) falls on a Saturday and there will be no Times until Monday, I imagined there would be no on-line crossword yesterday and was rather surprised when ‘Something in Common’ appeared. We put to one side the test-solve we were engaged in and began what was clearly a Christmas crossword when three clues suggested that they were carols (‘At Christmas time sing this’, ‘Old Carol…’ and ‘festive strain’).

In fact, we interrupted our solve to listen to the Christmas Carols and readings from Kings College Chapel and gained a few hints but ‘Joy to the World’, ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’, and ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ didn’t fit into the spaces reserved for them in the grid and instead we began to see a series of letters. Our first notion was that we were going to find A,B,C,D, etc. J K but No L (Noël) but Lionheart was more subtle than that.

After that, we had the awful thought that those were the notes of those carols but that we had to ‘substitute’ ONE SONG TO THE TUNE OF ANOTHER, since that was what the extra letters were spelling out for us. Surely we not very musical solvers (the other Numpty plays the bagpipes – that’s about it) didn’t have to annotate and insert a different carol?

METRE, we were told, was common to those three clues and the hint we were given was CRANBROOK. Fortunately a name appeared in 18/12 – HUMPHREY LYTTELTON and the Internet (our great solving mate) told us what it was all about. The other Numpty was busy attempting to fit the notes of ‘On Ilkley Moor Baa t’at’ into those cells as an Internet example suggested that Humphrey Lyttelton’s game consisted, for example, of singing ‘While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night’ to our Yorkshire anthem (and it really works – I went to bed singing it – to his horror) but light dawned. It was the words that went into those cells – great relief and what a fine idea.

Of course I had scanned the clues for evidence that Lionheart retains his place amongst the Listener Setter Oenophiles and there was a disappointingly TT set. The completed grid gave a touch of hope. ‘Shrub hurt, put over rash (7)’ gave us ALOE and SOR[E]< producing ROSEOLA. Rosé is a favourite French summer drink, not brilliant here just now where we still have heaps of snow on the ground but “Cheers, Lionheart, anyway.”

Ah, but then I spotted that Lionheart had made room for the little Listener hare – at least its ear had managed to creep in, ‘Make haste and smoke the plant (8)’ (HARE and SE[G]AR) – a reassuring Christmas visit from the little Poat character – so Lionheart compensated for that second-rate rosé. A lovely Christmas treat. Thank you Lionheart.

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Listener No 4691: Something in Common by Lionheart

Posted by Dave Hennings on 14 Jan 2022

This was only the second Listener from Lionheart and he’d been chosen to fill the normally empty gap resulting from Christmas Day being on a Saturday. His first puzzle, only seven months previously, was fun with every clue containing a word that looked as though it was English but was in fact German and needed to be translated before solving. The week we had three normal clues with the rest containing an extra letter not entered in the grid.

We started off swiftly enough with 1ac Old man in red cloak follows son (5) gave SANTA [S + (m)ANTA] and 5ac Some films to increase thrills (9) for ACTIONERS [(TO INCREASE)*]. They were followed by what appeared to be the first normal clue: 11,17 At Christmas-time sing this dear child, with shape made newly, Lord (13, four words) which made it seem that we were in with a Christmassy theme. Of course the ‘(13, four words)’ was misleading since the two entries had fourteen cells.

Testing the down clues, SCOW, ABAS and NAKED went in. At least I thought they went in but 11ac starting CBA made it look odd. Unless… well time would tell.

It wasn’t long before it was confirmed that the answers had to be changed to the musical notes A–G, at which point my heart sank. I remember tnap’s Musical Box puzzle at the beginning of the year, where I found that tracking down the exact notes for Ring a Ring o’ Roses was easier said than done!

I decided that the normal clues would need a bit of unravelling, so I decided that they could wait till the end, hopefully helped by the message provided by the extra letters. It wasn’t too long before the grid was filled and those letters gave:

(a) what is common for the answers to normal clues — METRE;
(b) a description of a substitution — ONE SONG TO THE TUNE OF ANOTHER;
(c) a hint for what to use for the substitution — CRANBROOK.

Given (b) and the letters I had for 18 12 (unclued, for which Lionheart apologises — is this the first time a setter has apologised in a preamble?) •UMP•RE• •Y••ELT•N was an obvious reference to ISIHAC and its long-time host of the past HUMPHREY LYTTELTON.

Next came some googling to inform me how Cranbrook fitted into all this. It was a late 18th century tune by Thomas Clark, a cobbler from Canterbury and is the tune to which On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at is sung.

I tried to unravel the three tune clues on the basis that they were Christmas carols:

  • 11,17 At Christmas-time sing this dear child, with shape made newly, Lord (13, four words)JOY TO THE WORLD [JOY + TOT + HEW + LORD*]
  • 37,41 We left the moonlit black hotel, troubled by festive strain (22, five words)O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM [(WE LEFT THE MOONLIT + B + HOTEL)*]
  • 22,31 Old Carol met with death on plain at end of horror film (24, six words) [Haven’t a clue.]

I also tried playing the notes that I had into the virtual piano provided by musicca.com/piano, but I failed to produce anything tuneful. Obviously some words had to replace all the notes I had, so I erased them completely and just put in the crossing letters of Humph. It struck me that solving the tune clues was somewhat superfluous, unless I’m missing something!

I spent a short while trying to fit lyrics from Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at, both in the Yorkshire dialect (that’s English??) and the standardised version, which actually sounds quite morbid. Getting nowhere with that, I revisited the Wikipage and found that the tune was also that for While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks [by Night], much more Christmassy and it fitted nicely.

Back to the leftover Christmas pudding now. Thanks, Lionheart.

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