Listener Crossword 4170: Solution Notes

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Aristocat by Mango

Puzzle explanation

In 36 clues, a vowel had to drop out or a consonant move alternately left or right (ie, “swinging”). These letters gave the Irving Mills lyric “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing”, for which Duke Ellington wrote the music. The two answers clued without definition gave the first five words of the Ellington quotation “Playing ‘Bop’ is like Scrabble with all the vowels missing”, entered as PLYNGBPS and LKSCRBBL. The answers to the remaining seven clues also had all their vowels dropped before entry; the entries revealed a partial vowel-free game of Scrabble®, incorporating every consonant (including the consonantal Y) at least once.

Clue explanations

Conventions: * = anagram, < = reversal

No (Re)moved letter Answer Explanation
ACROSS
1 (I) PLAYING BOP IS PLAY + IN G (key with one sharp) + BO + SIP <
7   JAPAN WAX PAN in JAW + AX
12 T-angled, (T)his ARAME AE around RAM
13 (D)ate, ran-D THEATRE (ATE * + R) in THE
14 Lent(O) ETERNAL (HEAR LENT − (Bac)H) *
15 N-ame(N) ENGRAM (servic)E + N + GRAM
16 (T)oiled, uni-T CENTIGRAM (CREATING + M) *
19   TRANQUILLIZE (QU + ILL) in TRAIN * + Z(air)E
21 for-M, (M)other UNLIKE U + KILN < + E
22 bar(E) AGNES S(ocialites) after (m)AGNE(t); ref. 20 down
27 o(A)f EATHE (wro)TE A THE(sis)
30 lear(N)s, Viole-N-t SCLERA (C + LEARS) *
32   DISCOVERTURE DIS + C(onsider) + OVERTURE
36 (A)venue’s RUNE-STAVE (ART(y) + VENUE’S) *
37 T-or, (T)ill BENIGN BEN + GIN *
38 (H)ere, writ-H-ing AINTREE ANTI with I moved forward + ERE *
39 a(I)m LAMAIST (I AM) < in LAST
40 So-N, dam(N) SWEIR S + WEIR
41   YARDANG YARD-LANG − L
42 (G)in, G-rave LIKE SCRABBLE ((S + RABBLE) around C) after LIKE
DOWN
1 ru(I)ns PRECLUDE R in PE + CL + DUE *
2 Le-F-t, (F)light LATEEN L + AT + EE + N
3 Ol(I)d YRENT (sk)YR ENT(rée)
4 (T)art, T-hat NARTJIE ART in NJ + IE
5 Sp(A)y BEAGLE 2 meanings
6 T(I)ree’s SHEARS SHEA + R + S
8 Paw-N, Georgia(N) PAGE P + A + GE
9   INTERFLUENT (RUIN LEFT TEN) *
10 pin(T), ma-T WRAXLE (R + AXLE) after W
11 G-as, (G)old XEMA XE + MA
17   RATTLEBRAIN RAT + BELT < + RAIN
18 Stink(O) SKEER (REEK + S) <
20 Gran(T), chas-T-e NANCY NAN + C(harle)Y; ref 22 across
23 T-angling, ne(T) SNAKE EEL (E + LAKES + NE) *
25   KITCHEN-MAID ITCH in KEN + MAD around I
26 (H)eat, s-H-immer GLITTER (GET * + R) around LIT
28 (A)like ASMEAR AS + ’M + EA + R(ouge)
29 S-T-eamer’s, ou(T) STUNS’L SS around (go)T (o)U (batsma)N + L
30 (S)parking, S-melting SPEISS P in SEIS(m) + S
31 W-rap, (W)ay REVERB RB around EVER
33 Franc(I)s CARIB FABRIC * − F
34 line(N), mo-N-th ABLY ((m)Y + L) < after AB
35 G-ratin(G) TIAN (ACTION − C − O) *
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