Listener Crossword 3952: Solution Notes

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Abundance by Seth Mould

Puzzle explanation

The unclued (and aptly numbered) 13dn is LETTER-CARDS. Outer cells contain hands ordered consistently by suit and descending value, represented by letters AKQJTNESSFFTT. Letters omitted from ten down entries not appearing in top or bottom rows spelt YARBOROUGH, a hand with no card higher than a nine. The bottom row (South) is an extreme Yarborough. West, with top card K, four above South’s potential nine, might bid “abundance” (at least nine tricks) at solo whist. East may be read as real words (an, es, a, fatness, a), the longest, with meaning “abundance”, to be highlighted.

Extra letters in other clues (FFFFKFFFT KNNFEST TNQA FN EASTS FANA) could be decoded as HIGHLIGHT LONGEST WORD IN EAST’S HAND. K (=Knave) was accepted in place of J.

The code, using only the abbreviations for cards, was as follows:
   A: A, B, C or D
   E: E
   F: F, G, H or I
   J: J
   K: K, L or M
   N: N, O or P
   Q: Q or R
   S: S
   T: T, U, V, W, X, Y or Z

Clue explanations

Conventions: * = anagram, < = reversal

No Extra letter
Move + Remove
Answer Explanation
ACROSS
8 (f)lack CLOAK O(scar) in LACK*
10 (F)old ACCOMPT COMPACT*
12 (f)lex ORLE Hidden
14 (f)ire GIRO First letters
15 Nova(k) ASTARTE STAR in ATE; reference Greek goddess Ate
16 (F)arm NUGGET GUN < + GET
17 (F)log CHOCK C + HOCK
18 (f)at TAIL END (LINED + AT)*
19 s(t)ick METRICATE (MANCHESTER CITY)* – SYNCH*
21 span(k)s SDEIGN SIGN about (D + E)
23 alter(n)ation MONOCHROMATIC MONO + CHROMATIC; definition is precise, while suggesting pop group
29 Mea(n)ly PANADA PAN + A + DA
31 i(f) CHAMFRAIN (MARCH FAN)* about I
32 Hum(e) PICKEER PIC + REEK <
33 (s)um OPIUM OP + I’ + UM
34 (t)ending BEKISS BESS about (KI – (scol)D)
35 (t)rifle DISROBE (S + ROB) in DIE
36 bo(n)d’s ’ARRY First letters; Cockney pronunciation of Harry
37 I(Q) ESNE SEEN*
38 (a) TAMANDU MAD AUNT*
39 (f)laying COMET ME in COT
DOWN
1 so(n)s SLOSHED HELD SOS*
2 F + B TABEFACTION FINE CATBOAT*
3 Po(e)t EARTHEN EN (dash) about HEART*; adjectival use of “pot”
4 Edwardian(a) SCENARY E(dwardia)N in SCARY
5 T + R FORTUITISM MOIST FRUIT*
6 record(s) EPIGEAL EP + I + GEAL; definition describes a plant with runners close to the ground
7 ro(t)und SPOT SOT about P(aunch)
8 T + Y CATACLYSMIC CAT + (A’S about CLY) + MIC; reference violent tidal bore
9 F + R FORETOKEN FOR + E + TOKEN; see entry for “staff” in Chambers
11 S + G STRENGTH (S + GT + H) about RENT*; note medical abbreviation: gt = drop
13 LETTER-CARDS Unclued
20 T + H ENCHANTMENT (CAN THE TEN MEN – (Ars)E(nal))*
22 N + O CANNON-PROOF CANN + ON + PROOF
24 N + O CONFESSANT CO + (FANS SENT)*
25 F + U TAURIFORM T + AU + R + I + FO + RM; references Flying Officer and Royal Marine
26 T + A WHITE RAT W + HIT + ERA + T
27 fla(s)k PACKRAT PRAT about ACK(-ack)
28 (F)leet PRESENT Composite anagram: LEET PRISON → PRESENT + OIL
29 I(a)n PILINUT TULIP IN*
30 uni(n)formed DOUBLET (TROUBLED – R)*
34 ro(a)d BARF F after BAR
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