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Listener No 4653 Descent By Gnomish

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NickorWan | 05:02 Sat 03rd Apr 2021 | Crosswords
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That was good fun. I thought it was going to be a real stinker until I twigged the theme; I found some of the clues for the jumbles very tough. It didn’t exactly collapse when the theme became clear, but it did become much easier. I haven’t done all the initial letters bit, just the first few, but I know what it will reveal. Thanks very much, Gnomish.

I am reminded of a Morecambe and Wise sketch:)

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Pretty much what Nick said. I thought this was going to be impossible until thematic material started peeping out of the grid, and although I did gather momentum during the solve it was not easy at any stage. I'm not keen on jumbles - piecing the entries together can be as slow as picking off a stubborn sticky label - but the thematic material helped. I had to reverse engineer the some of longer jumbled answers from the letters in the grid.

Great puzzle which I enjoyed a lot.
An excellent puzzle with plenty of thematic material and no lengthy grid staring required.
We also didn't finish the numerical aspect as the theme became apparent quite quickly and the risk of going wrong would have been too burdensome.

Thanks, Gnomish.
It must have been a monster to set, and one can forgive the unnecessary jumbled answer. I initially tried to find a creator who has an anniversary this week. But it all ended happily. Perhaps we should all be on the bottom row
Thanks Gnomish - that was impressive! My favourite solve so far this year.

I guessed the theme early, but it still took a while locating the scenes within that jumble, and I really enjoyed the logical challenge that brought.

I didn't need the head/tail clues, nor the message from the initial clue letters, but I'm impressed that you managed to include those without compromising the quality of the grid or the clue surfaces.
Very good indeed - a proper challenge with an unequivocal final grid and no ghastly staring to do.

I did do the initial letters bit - it gave me the theme which I hadn't spotted and then confirmed which were the clues with the extra words.

The puzzle never relaxed the pressure and was hard right up until my final solves (30 and 33), even with all the theme words in place - quite an achievement, I think.

Thanks Gnomish - one of the best this year.
Congratulations to those who managed to see the theme without using the initial letters gimmick. After entering all the normal entries, and filling checked cells of crossing jumbles where there could be only one choice, I was left with a lot of empty spaces. I couldn't see any pattern emerging so started on the initial letters gimmick. Three after the initial A were enough to give me theme and thus the scenes.

I found the preamble reference to head and feet rather confusing, even after completion. It didn't help to solve the puzzle, though perhaps it adds to the thematic depiction.

Enjoyable as it was, I wouldn't rank it with the best this year. The main weakness is the thematic infidelity, since it's not a progressive descent - some of the scenes are not in the correct sequence.

An enjoyable puzzle. I, too, was one who made use of the initial letters to obtain the theme. I thought the final fitting of the scenes wasn't too difficult and it was a cleverly constructed puzzle to make the final letters to be entered unambiguous.

There was a wide spectrum to the difficulty of the clues. Some were quite devious. 15ac was weak, I felt, as there is a valid alternative answer if one of the words is taken as redundant. Fortunately this answer created a nonsense in the grid but I was nevertheless surprised that it had been passed.

Very impressive puzzle. Many thanks, Gnomish.
One of the best, with the odd moment of bafflement early on. Used the spelled-out source as the breakthrough, working backwards from the last three letters. Liked the thematic summary clue.
Interesting point on the thematic infidelity, Scorpius. Having the scenes in order would have indeed made for an impressive grid, but it would also have made them significantly easier to spot.
Great puzzle. I certainly didn't see any thematic material peeking out, and had to wait till the letters revealed the theme. Most impressed by the work needed to finish, which was nicely unambiguous. Thanks, Gnomish.
I tumbled to the theme once I had the first four letters of the title - and kicked myself for not seeing it earlier. I also made things more difficult for myself by assuming that the steps would be in order and therefore stuffing words in where they didn't belong. That was frustrating and, I personally felt, a flaw of the design given that most steps were in order. Still a lot of fun and slightly less frustrating than my ongoing war with the Magpie mathematical puzzle this month
Philoctetes, a composer with an association with the theme died 50 years ago this week...

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Listener No 4653 Descent By Gnomish

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