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Posts Tagged ‘When I’m 64’

8 x 8 by Phi

Posted by shirleycurran on 16 Apr 2021

One of the earliest Listener crosswords we solved was Phi’s. 50 – 50. That was the fiftieth Listener crossword he had had a hand in and it appeared in November 2009, to celebrate his fiftieth birthday. 8 x 8 = 64 but unless I have made a numerical bungle, he can only be 62 now. Head-scratching. Are we going to see a reason to open some bottle and celebrate

I work my way through all the clues expecting a flood of champagne or something like it, and am sorely disappointed. We find soups, ‘Servants bringing in excessive soups’ and when we put OTT into PAGES, we get POTTAGES. There’s a glutton, ‘Ring leading rancher’s calf round for a glutton’. We use BELL with DOGY inverted after it, giving BELLYGOD, but not a drop of alcohol.

But what an original device! We are grateful for 18 relatively generous clues and even more so for the corrected misprints that have soon spelled out LENNON AND McCARTNEY and given us our penny-drop-moment. “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?

Will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine?

However, the 8-letter clues are not so easy and it is quite a challenge to fit them round the letters that have already appeared in the top and bottom of our figures of eight, allowing them to share the middle three letters. Of course, FOOTBALL and NOT AT ALL put two letters into a single cell and allow Phi to ask “Will you still Need / Feed me?”  Of course we will Phi, we hope you’ll still be setting at 94!

Then when I play the song, I hear “Will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings BOTTLE OF WINE?” – so there is the alcohol after all: “Cheers!” Place assured yet again in the Listener Setters’ Elite Oenophile outfit.

“Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more?” Oh dear, did Phi have some premonition of Covid, where weeding or a trip to the tip is a highlight of our day? He’s anticipating UK staycations, “Every summer we could rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight – if it’s not too dear!”

Well, Covid premonitions or not, this was fun. Thanks, Phi.

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