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Listener 4085: If I’ve Told You Once … by Ploy (or Where’s Sacred Emily?)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 28 May 2010

It is strange, if not a bit worrying, how the brain leaps off at a tangent and makes weird connections between seemingly unrelated things. This Ploy puzzle completed a trilogy of Listeners for me: Not as Mad as It Sounds?, Oh Yes It Does! and If I’ve Told You Once …. I’ll come back to punctuation later, but these three puzzles (slightly out of order I’ll admit) reminds me of the following Python classic:

Victim: Is this the right room for an argument?
Arguer: I’ve told you once.
Victim: No you haven’t.
Arguer: Yes I have.
Victim: When?
Arguer: Just now!
Victim: No you didn’t.

It also contains this priceless exchange:

Arguer: Look, if I argue with you I must take up a contrary position.
Victim: But it isn’t just saying ‘No it isn’t’.
Arguer: Yes it is.
Victim: No it isn’t!

So, back to the punctuation of my first sentence. I suppose I just wanted to be able to say that just once I’d written a sentence containing a question mark followed by a comma and an exclamation mark mid-sentence and an ellipsis at the end of a sentence (how many dots is that?)! Even putting the puzzle titles in emphasis confuses the final item. But I digress …

The last Listener puzzle from Ploy, 4004 Signal Boxes, was a failure for me. The theme was logic circuit elements (AND, OR, NAND, etc), but it was one of many failures in 2008, so no harm done (but annoying nonetheless).

Listener 4085-a

In this puzzle, a letter pair needs to be removed from each of six clues giving a two-word phrase, and then there are eight squares where letters clash. That’s not many, so I hoped they wouldn’t get in the way too much. My first pass through the clues was fairly productive with 14 solved. Quite easy clues too, with some hiddens, a regular hidden (eTrUrIa), and a couple of simple anagrams. My next clue, 6ac, gave me my first extra letters with [mu]so who’s first to go being the wordplay for SOHO. Another half-a-dozen clues and I got my first letter clash at 24ac and 15dn/22dn.

Listener 4085-b

I was about three-quarters of the way through the puzzle when I reread the preamble and thought I’d try and find the writer of the quotation. I suppose I could have looked for hours, but I saw GERTRUDE STEIN, struggling to appear across the middle, in only a few seconds. I quickly finished the grid, found her entry in my ODQ, and there was ‘Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose, is a rose’. There are four roses in columns 3, 5, 9 and 11, which, together with Miss Stein need to be highlighted. (OK, so there are five roses in total in the quotation, but one is after a comma!)

The extra letters in the six clues took slightly longer to decipher: MU MI NO TA NE TO. I don’t know if being told that it was a Latin phrase and/or (6,6) would have helped, but I needed a cup of Tea to get the answer, MUTATO NOMINE, Latin for the name being changed. This didn’t really fit with selecting Gertrude Stein in the grid, and my initial assumption was that ‘must be resolved in the opposite way’ in the preamble would mean the opposite of across or down. The downs were favoured to give Gertrude, but the other down clashes also led to real words for the acrosses. PETER at 35ac finally made me see the light, with DOLINA, TAMARA, PETER and CHERRY, all names in Chambers and needing to be changed to new words using the letters of the down clashes.

Listener 4085-c

Finally I pondered a while over the appearance of SACRED EMILY in the central column, but we weren’t required to do anything with her, so I didn’t. I assumed she was there to give some additional pointer in the right direction. Highlighting her plus the four roses would have given 27 letters instead of the 25 required — thank goodness that was stipulated.

I think there was only one tricky clue, 27dn, which could have been EGENCE or EGENCY. I was trying to arrange E (energy), GE (Georgia) and NC (North Carolina) states somehow, not having heard of agency meaning a group of Indian states.

A good, straightforward puzzle from Ploy, so many thanks for a relatively easy week.


One Response to “Listener 4085: If I’ve Told You Once … by Ploy (or Where’s Sacred Emily?)”

  1. Jake said

    Thanks for the blog. I didn’t get too far with this, though, I was on other puzzles.

    I thought I’d reply to your blog as you use the same colouring in pen as me!


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