Inquisitor 1481 The Listener Crossword by Nimrod

March 22, 2017

The sight of Nimrod’s name at the top of a daily cryptic is a sure sign
that you’re in for a bit of a challenge, so let’s just say I was a bit
nervous when I saw who we had this week, given my abject failure the last time
I tried one of his puzzles, Inquisitor or not, the now legendary Life After Death?

The good news at the start is that it’s not a carte blance this time,
so we should have some idea where we’re putting the answers. The
second bit of good news is that the clues appear to be sort of normal –
some answers are too short for the space available, but we can worry about
that when we come to it. Some thematic entries to be highlighted, which
no doubt will leap out towards the end. Or not. The title and a couple of clues
reference the annual Listener dinner that was happening the weekend
this was published, but I’m guessing that’s just to mislead us.

To the clues, which, for Nimrod, seem to be on the gentle side. The first
of the too short clues appears at 15ac, where we have HAZEL, which I’m
going to guess will probably be expanded to HAZELNUT, so in it goes, in
pencil, as I always do for these. Much to my surprise the grid is filling,
though with some going in on a bit of a wing and a prayer (yes, I’m
looking at you 16ac – nice clear wordplay, but I’m still not sure where
the definition is). This is much my usual experience with Nimrod, but
isn’t particularly helpful with an Inquisitor where we can do without having
to guess. A fair bit of hunting through Chambers, and a few where nothing
else will fit but I’ve only got some of the wordplay sorted out. This
doesn’t bode well for the end-game.

At the close we have a sort of finished grid, albeit with five blank cells
in the bottom row, where we have a bunch of answers that are shorter than
the cells allotted. My first thought was to guess what should go there –
sorts of synonyms for the answers? This seemed to work elsewhere –
but this is probably wrong, indeed didn’t seem to get me anywhere, so I
rubbed them out again. So what to fill them with? Well, we have EAVES
across the centre of the top row, and this is the ‘Listener Crossword’, so
EAVES-DROP? EAVES in those blank cells at the bottom too.

To the thematic entries we have to highlight. It looks like we’re onto
some sort of listening-in, bugging theme. I can see TAP in the penultimate
row, so literally BUG? There’s a definite synonym further up – VEX – again
in the same column. So let’s go with six entries that are synonyms of BUG,
with BUG itself as the seventh item we have to write under the grid.

Barring mistakes, or me having got it totally wrong, I’m going to say
that’s OK. Not as scary as it first appeared. Perhaps the thought of his
extended 3d of Gateshead made Nimrod wonder if other solvers might be on
less than top form too.

 

Until next time, then, when we have Lato, with changes afoot.

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3 Responses to “Inquisitor 1481 The Listener Crossword by Nimrod”

  1. jonofwales said

    Gah, looks like the above isn’t quite correct, the EAVES should literally have dropped out of the top row leaving blank spaces there. Oh well…

  2. AndyT said

    I’m still in awe that you filled the grid, or even attempted the puzzle in the first place. The word “Listener” was enough to scare me off.

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