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Astragal was happily snoozing in his den one afternoon last week until rudely awoken by the telephone. Balefully staring at the source of his annoyance, Astragal reluctantly picked up.

Expecting yet another invitation to a gin-drinking session from his old pals at the Chelsea Arts Club, Astragal was surprised to hear the voice of an elderly lady requesting help with her last crossword clue.

An accomplished wordsmith, Astragal gallantly came to the assistance of the charming Miriam Bailey, 89, of London, who was stumped by two down in the Mail on Sunday crossword.

Clue: architect, six letters, _o_e_s. Astragal's hint: he's no spring chicken himself. . .

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