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Title Stocking Up
Setter Arcturus
Series The Listener
Number 3805
Date 18/12/2004
Grid 1313 barred grid with 180 symmetry. Four stockings made of dashes surround four sets of squares.
Preamble Clues to thematic across answers have no definition. Every other clue contains a misprint in the definition; in clue order, the correct letters spell out the first five words of a seasonal verse. The second line of the verse cryptically suggests how the thematic answers (six of one type, two of another) must be entered. Successful solvers should find that their stockings have been filled. Chambers Dictionary (2003) is the primary reference.
Solution Notes
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The correct letters of misprints spell out the opening of A Visit from St Nicholas by Clement C Moore:

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

The second line cryptically suggests the treatments for the thematic across answers: seahog, wild boar, stingaree, ant thrush, sea owl, suricate (entered jumbled with A removed); fieldmouse, deer mouse (entered without even letters).

The stockings contain the following presents, resolving ambiguities: CD, wine; token, sweet; gift, nut; scotch, tie.

KeywordsA Visit from St Nicholas Clement C Moore Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house Not a creature was stirring not even a mouse
Acknowledgements Preamble and solution notes © 2020 The Times. Reproduced with permission.
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