I went to see a duck hooker once – the sex was OK, but the bill was outrageous

I hope to get this finished this afternoon, I’ll leave you with the worst joke I can thing of for now.

Welcome back – if you are still reading, in which case, hi, welcome, all that.  Pretty busy weekend here, with the debut show of my new improv comedy group, Lab Ratz.  Remember that scene in the Blues Brothers where they end up owing a ton of money because they drank far more than they were getting paid.  Well let’s say at the debut show I almost recovered the price of half of my drinks.  The audience liked it though…

Anyhoo – Glow-worm!  It’s been a while since Glow-worm has given us a game-themed puzzle, five years apparently.  This one I started on my way back from the trip where I started Relationship last week.  I had a much more comfortable seat and quiet unobtrusive fellow passengers for a late-afternoon flight from Denver to Atlanta… three hours to bash away at this.

What do we have – lots of 15ing in the preamble and looks like four different modifications of clues.  Answers appear to be real words, and my smartarse phone has a searchable dictionary that I can use in airplane mode, so this is looking promising.

There is a 1 across and I could not for the life of me figure it out.  There’s some clues that are wordplay only, maybe it’s one of those.  Ditto 2 across, so we have a big FAIL on the 1-across test, and the puzzle gets started with 9 across, a reversed hidden word clue for ERASER.

Working from there, the first piece of thematic material appears in 19 across, where there’s an extra O in the wordplay for CADET CORPS, and another one in the clue for PATROLMAN – generously hidden in anagrams.  Hmmm… two O’s… wonder if more O’s have to leave?  Yep – in 27 across as well.  So some O’s have to be put in somewhere.

Next up, it’s obvious we have to remove AVOID from 36 across, and DEER, I from 11 across.

O, AVOID, something that is an anagram of DEER,I?  Ducks?

Is 15 down HOOK A DUCK?  The preamble says that it isn’t in Chambers, and I wonder if that might be because it is common in the US.  I’ve seen it a bunch of times at county fairs in the US, but don’t recall seeing it in the UK (not sure if I still have the picture of the fair near Leeds that was advertising welly-wanging as one of the activities).  It fits… so 2,24 is GAIN PRIZES, and 1 across I guess is NO GO… along with OOPS for 40 across.

At the end of the plane trip I had almost a full grid, and I’d found three of the six duckanagrams that had to be hooked out of clues.  All that was left was a little clean-up and figure out the word that goes across the bottom.

Even with a full grid, this gave me a bit of a headache… the circled letters were EONTSALWMPDD… and I’d only found three of the six duck anagrams… I had an idea which clues had extra words, so where can I go from there… EIDER, WIGEON, and SHOVELER were the only two I had… there had to be something in 34 down, maybe an anagram of DAMN RAIN?  Yep – MANDARIN!  In 7 down, it looks like TALE can go which leaves TEAL.  Five out of six…

My remaining letters are now ONALPDD.  That looks like DONALD, also a duck, and P… looked in Bradfords for P ducks that might be lurking in clues… no luck.

So I never did hook that last duck, though I have a complete grid, a reversed ROD (which sounds like a painful medical condition) and a sheepish victory to George.

My working grid for Listener 4338, A Game of 15 (Hook-a-duck) by Glow-worm

Aaaaah, I now see it was CHAP ROD I needed to get rid of for POCHARD.

Feel free to tell me that I needed to remove CHAP ROD to get POCHARD and see you next week when Shackelton mixes us a double… make that two!

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