Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

3979 – Huge Ruin (Remote) by Gos

Posted by Listen With Others on 17 May 2008

A Guest Blog by Colin Blackburn

I'm one of those Listener solvers who checks the Times website far too often on a Friday afternoon. This Friday was a rare exception, having
just sat an OU number theory examination in a faceless hotel near Newcastle airport I had retired to Newcastle city centre to wile away the afternoon in Blake's coffee house. The one afternoon when I really need their free WiFi to be up, it's down.  I resign myself to enjoying a
couple of pints in the Newcastle Arms with the Independent puzzle. A
couple of pints turns into a meal on the way home and the Listener is,
for once, relegated to Saturday morning.

Freshly printed out I have Huge Ruin (Remote) by Gos. Gos is a name I
recognise but it seems I failed to submit Gos's 2007 and 2006
puzzles—I don't know why. So, “dramatisations of two works,” appear in
the grid and, “a third,” in the title. The title looks like an anagram
but I'm not sure about the parentheses. I assume 1a and 37 are the two
phrases containing the dramatisations but it isn't entirely clear from
the preamble. The clues are given in alphabetical order of their
answers—at least that gives a little extra help when cold solving.
What doesn't help is that only some of the clues contain misprints,
hopefully they'll be easy to spot.

The first clue looks promising: bamboo = CANE, bring the final A of
panda forward and that gives have ACNE = spots, excellent clue too. “Fun
to be had regularly with Sophie Keaton (4)” it turns out PEAN is 'fur'.
That gives me my first misprint. Scanning back up I see REAP, simple
initialisation and a second misprint. Then GIPSY, another set of
initials with Y on the end. “Strife occurring from misplaced trust (5)”
This must be an anagram. Aha, STRUT = stride, vaguely, and that gives me
another misprint. PEAG, OLEIC and ENRANGE stare me in the face, the last
one literally so.

Now I have a few answers maybe I should think about the key answers I'm
going to need to start filling the grid. I had assumed the grid was
symmetric but on closer inspection it isn't quite. There are three 8
letter answers, two intersecting and two running side-by-side for a
couple of letters. “See endless loving all over the place and turn into
a story (8)” looks like an anagram of SEELOVIN, ha, NOVELISE. Looking at
“In Hareem, a sex hormone one gets right away (8)” ESTROGEN emerges from
the anagram but as this is the US spelling a misprint of Hareem to
Harlem is needed to justify the answer. Nice clue, other than the
uppercase H which gives it away a little.

The third one isn't as obvious yet, though “Rocket” is ripe for
misprinting. DELI, SANG, RUIN (anything to do with the theme?), CRUST,
CLIO (which must be a down light), CLAPPER and UMPS all come from
another scan through. I now have several misprints, GPLROD. If I knew
what order they appeared it would help. I have a glance through a list
of authors…EDGAR ALLAN POE! He fits. I just need to find a few more
misprints to confirm one way or the other. RINGLET and ICED give me a
couple of As, things are looking good.

I tentatively fill in ESTROGEN at 19 since it allows GIPSY at 21. This
places NOVELISE at 18 and so I have a couple of letters in 24 and it
must start with at T. I lightly fill in a few more answers using the
ordering of the misprints to help. This places STRUT at an early across
light which I just can't make fit. Okay, I'll solve a few more clues and
see how it goes.

Then MANNA gives me a second D, not so good. Double checking it must be
right, An Nam is an old French protectorate in what is now Vietnam, food
(from fool) must be the definition. Okay, maybe it isn't Poe. Then I get
my breakthrough, the third 8 letter word is RIVE in TIRE. A completely
new one on me but it fits and gives me a third A. Maybe I should review
STRUT since I can't place it in the grid. It seems it's not a misprint
at all but STURT meaning 'strife'. So, Poe's back in the game.

It's now a plod through the remaining clues using what I've got in the
grid. Sketching in CRUST at 26 and seeing HARRIED for 1d help a lot.
Harry'd indeed, terrible pun. With a few letters in 1a and 37 I take a
break from the puzzle to check out the works of Poe on wikipedia. What's
noticeable is that the short stories and their dramatisations, often as
Corman films, have slightly different names. HOUSE Of USHER fits at 1a
and TOMB OF LIGEIA fits at 37. Neither are quite the right titles but
for now I just use them to help complete the grid. The rest of the clues
fall into place fairly quickly once the restrictions of the alphabet,
the grid and the last few misprints are considered. I did like “Look out
for them reportedly giving a bit of color in Hollywood (5)” for CECUM.
Very nice homophone and clever use of US spellings in the clue and answer.

Now I just have to work out what to do to finish this off. I realise
that the HOUSE OF USHER fell but the TOMB OF LIGEIA didn't rise, even if
LIGEIA did, sort of. Still, swapping the two entries seems to leave real
words in the grid so I guess this much is right if not completely clear.
Looking back at the title I play around with the letters and find IN THE
RUE MORGUE, 'murdered' this would produce the letters in the title. Why
the parentheses though? And do I need to do anything else to the grid or
is this third work not considered a feature of the grid? And, why wasn't
the title based on a third Corman title, that'd have been a little
neater if the title isn't anything other than a title.

Oh well, I'll post it and hope. On typing this up it turns out that I
forgot to post it! I carried the completed puzzle with me on a work trip
to Paris and a cycling holiday in the South Downs. I had to send it on
the closing date, maybe JEG will be kind to me on this one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: