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Posts Tagged ‘The Session’

The Session by Gila

Posted by shirleycurran on 22 Mar 2019

The weekend of the Listener Setters’ Dinner, superbly hosted by Jetdoc and Enigmatist in York, this time. Traditionally we expect a relatively undemanding crossword for this weekend and it appeared that we had a new setter here – was I going to be able to welcome him into the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit? I read through the preamble in horror: ‘Some entries are words that are affected by one of the session’s three stages (i) having a drink (well, for dinner goers, that was at the Fox and Roman this year) (ii) drunk (Oh dear, wasn’t this going a bit too far with all that lovely alcohol flowing at the dinner and after – till around 2 a.m. for the stragglers this year?) or (iii) with a hangover (seven of each)’.

I was having serious concerns about the suitability of Gila by this time but read on and found that omitted and extra words in the wordplay of across and down clues were going to give us an appropriate maxim and something to help with the hangover. I decided that judgement would have to be reserved. Can we really allow our reputation to be sullied by rollicking inebriation?

The clues didn’t reassure me: ‘With cola, I made mixes of nasty spirits (10)’ We added an N to that anagram and produced DEMONIACAL. ‘Acceptable craft beer and a dash of liqueur with ice (10)’ Another anagram of BEER ICE A and L(iqueur) and another V omitted. The other Numpty was already muttering ‘In vino veritas’ and suspecting that we had even more alcohol in the maxim.

We had a delightful new attendee at the dinner, a newly-retired bishop and he confided his amusement to me on reading 1d. ‘Drunk bishop losing head following the end of one barrel (7)’ We sadly removed the head of our PRIMATE (with the M as an extra letter) and put the RIATE after (on)E B(arrel), producing EBRIATE, or ‘drunk’. Hmm, Gila!

‘Free beer on drinking binge for … (6, two words)’ gave us [A]LE + TOUT so ‘let out’, and the young lady in the next clue was, not surprisingly, well sozzled: ‘…Naomi at first – more than tipsy, protecting Heather from Helena (13, two words)’. We removed an E and put an anagram of MOR THAN round ERICA (heather) after N and the superb clue (if we ignored the surface reading of the drunken screaming, hen-party girls) gave us NORTH AMERICAN.

‘Red wine’s drunk – poet’s made more powerful (7)’ gave us SINEWED with an extra R (though seriously, I’d expect the poet to be flat out on the floor after all this bingeing!). ‘A drop of Lambrusco? That is a fizzy drink! (7)’ (yes, it’s rather too fizzy for me!) put a drink MEAD into L(ambrusco) IE and told us how some entries were going to ‘have a drink’.

‘Old brewer’s limited microbars (6)’ puzzled us until the end of our solve when we had found those drinks everywhere: liMEADe, staGINg, diALEd, saVINg, airPORTs, and conTENTed, and we decided that RYE had to be surrounded by BAS(s) – the BASS brewery’s founder. Clearly the drunken solutions would be anagrams and we opted for RAVE, NERITA, PIERCE, ARVO, HUSTLE, TONETIC and SEMILUNAR. What a gem that last anagram of UNREALISM was!

Just extra letters at the ends of words for the hangovers (ASSES[S], MOO[R], PAST[A], PLEB[E], SCAR[P], PRO[D] and BUR[P]) – the last of those didn’t surprise me at all – but, fortunately, by this time, the somewhat drunken extra letters MAEAPLOTRCA had supplied PARACETAMOL. What can I say? Cheers Gila!


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Listener No 4544: The Session by Gila

Posted by Dave Hennings on 22 Mar 2019

As I read the preamble this week, I could picture the scene over in the living room at another LWO house. Someone is being given smelling salts to revive her from having fainted onto the sofa. “A whole puzzle about alcohol. Outrageous!”

She was talking about Gila’s first Listener, although he has had several over at EV and Inquisitor. Here we had four clue types: alcoholic, post-alcoholic, recovery therefrom and alcohol-free. Of course, we weren’t told which clue was which, but everything came together nicely.

Some of the clues were a bit perplexing! For example, I didn’t really now who the culprit was out of Naomi, Heather and Helena in 5dn: … Naomi at first — more than tipsy — protecting Heather from Helena? (13, two words). What had Heather done to provoke Helena?

However, I wasn’t at all surprised by the antics of the clergy at 2dn: Drunk bishop losing head following the end of one barrel (7). In fact it reminded me of the bishop and archdeacon, and their fondness for a tipple of two of sherry, in that excellent 60’s BBC sitcom, All Gas and Gaiters.

I must say that I found the endgame a bit tricky. Letters dropped from the clues would lead to a Maxim and an Item which needed to be written in the spaces under the grid. The downs weren’t too bad, with all the dropped letters giving something to help with a hangover:


As usual in these situations, a bit of doodling of letters helps. In this case, I tried PLOTEACARMA which looked vaguely Pharmaceutical. I should have sussed it then, but it took half a dozen more attempts to tease out Paracetamol.

The across Maxim was, however, a lot more tricky. Made so because the 11 letters dropped from the unaffected clues had to be joined by two of the five hangover clues which had their last letters dropped:

N R V E S O T I A I V, plus two of P I S N D

I won’t go into the convolutions that I went through with these letters. Suffice it to say that it took two (or was it three?) 15-minute visits to see the wine and come to In Vino Veritas. (Perhaps I should have had a couple of glasses before starting my doodles.) I had my doubts about the fairness of those two rogue letters but, hey, I got there in the end.

Good fun, thanks Gila.

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