Listener 4717 Unruly Characters By Somniloquist

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emcee | 10:13 Mon 27th Jun 2022 | Crosswords
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Well, I've looked for a thread but there doesn't appear to be one.

This was a tough puzzle, probably the hardest so far this year. The theme wasn't for me at all (at all) but I enjoyed the clue types.

Sections first and third (final) parts of the endgame were clear enough and unambiguous and I enjoyed the process of getting there. The midsection could be construed in two different ways, as far as I can see.

Thanks, Somniloquist, a good tough puzzle.


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A very hard grid-fill followed by an almost impenetrable attack of GWIT. Either component would have been acceptable, but teaming the two was rather over-the-top.

Whilst I can appreciate that The Listener needs a few puzzles each year that will reduce the 100% solvers to a manageable level, I'm not sure that this is the right way to do it.

Thanks Somniloquist - the tough-but-fair grid-fill was excellent.
I've just completed (to my satisfaction, at least), but it will probably take a day or so for my brain to calm down sufficiently to judge this one objectively. Also, some comments can't be said until after the closing date.

Overall, this puzzle was a triumph, and does admirable justice to the theme. I particularly enjoyed the grid fill, despite it taking many hours, and the character reveals were a very clever challenge.

I actually had a not-dissimilar puzzle idea low down on my setting list. I'm relieved I can now cross it off, as I wasn't looking forward to it one bit.
...and I forgot to thank the solver. Thanks and congratulations, Somniloquist - I really enjoyed this puzzle.
The escapee idea was new to me, and I enjoyed the challenge, for a while, then decided to pack it in. Comments here confirm I made the right decision.
Well, that was tough. I cannot recall a puzzle where I erased so many perfectly reasonable answers to be replaced by others equally reasonable. Sadly, there was no sense of awe at each step, as the preamble described all the steps, so really just a slog for an endgame. The final gimmick verged on GWIT. Not really a contender for POTY
I agree with Philoctetes. An unrewarding slog, not even alleviated by pleasure in the clues, most of which suffered from dire surfaces. one or two had absurdly obscure elements in the wordplay. The second instruction is horribly ambiguous. I can justify my depiction, but I have no idea if it matches the setter's intention. Definitely a case of GWIT.
Without the help of a synopsis from the Internet (which should not be a requirement in the case of the Listener) one would have to read the work in question to complete the puzzle!

Sorry, Somniloquist, not the sort of puzzle that I admire or enjoy.

There's no doubt that the advent of crossword-solving forums has resulted in an significant increase in solvers getting all correct for the year. But by upping the level of difficulty to this level disadvantages those solvers who spurn such sites. I'm pretty sure that this would have been rated E if it had been a Magpie puzzle.
What does GWIT mean?
Guess What I'm Thinking - ie you need to be able to read the setter's mind to know what the final stage involves.
I don’t actually agree that this is a GWIT puzzle as the theme is obvious once you get to the last bit
Now the solution's up, I just wanted to add how brilliantly anarchic this puzzle was. It rebelled against convention just as the book's characters rebelled against the author. Puzzle of the year so far for me.

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