Listen With Others

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Listener 4205: Murder Mystery 2 by Gos (or I Nearly Fell For It)

Posted by Dave Hennings on 21 September 2012

So this was Gos’s second murder mystery. The first one was back in February 2005, and featured the American sleuth Ellery Queen. I wondered who we were up against this time. Nothing special about the clues, but a few entries would need jumbling where they coincided with the detective.

Listener 4205I wasn’t too unhappy with my first pass through the acrosses. The cleverly disguised hidden at 12ac Tiresome letter’s written in what could be Spanish would have been a good start, but HASID proving his identity at 16ac took that honour. That was followed by SAINT Stephen at 19ac, DERM at 22 and WERSH at 25. African bread (ie money) was NAIRA at 28 and with ODEUM hidden in 41 and good old EDDIE Fisher at 43, that was all I could muster for the across entries. And that assumed that they didn’t have to be jumbled.

3dn saw a third hidden in SenegAL IS MArsh-mallow, and I thought we were being treated rather well. In due course, a reversed hidden was to come in secRET ARmy at 50dn as well. Meanwhile, 7 IDEA was slotted in, but the anagram of ‘thats where many’ + d had to wait a bit longer before WYNDHAMS THEATRE could be entered at 11. A few more downs, and I was well on the road.

However, I was getting distressed by there being very few clashes in the grid, which would indicate an entry that needed to be jumbled. As it turned out, there were only two: MOAN at 27dn and HEST at 33dn, neither of which had many options to give new words, and were NOMA and SHET.

The grid wasn’t filled in double-quick time, but I suppose a reasonably quick couple of hours, with JOHN DICKSON CARR and his pen name CARTER DICKSON being the two unclued entries. Apparently (because I don’t think I’ve heard of him before), he was one of the best exponents of the locked room mysteries. A quick perusal of Wikipedia revealed that what was considered to be the best ever locked-room mystery was The Hollow Man with Doctor Fell as the sleuth. There in row 3 of the grid was DR•FELL, but The Hollow Room was nowhere to be found!

Luckily for me, after about twenty minutes of scanning the grid, I noticed HTAED in row 10, and Nine — and Death Makes Ten was soon identified as the US title of one of the Sir Henry Merrivale mysteries. He was often referred to as HM, and he was to be found at the centre of the ‘locked room’ formed by the highlighted title.

So, thanks to Gos for an entertaining puzzle, with a false trail from Dr Fell. After the Kafka/Murakami deception from Dysart a few weeks back, this may be the last for some time … or the second, with many more to come!

As a quick postscript, there were three Whodunnit puzzles by Mime back in the 80s and 90s. The last of these featured John Dickson Carr and Dr Fell.


2 Responses to “Listener 4205: Murder Mystery 2 by Gos (or I Nearly Fell For It)”

  1. Perhaps I should stop writing my blog, Dave, as so often it simply echoes yours, not only in the order of solving, but also in all the asides along the way. Do you think anyone who reads us really believes that we solve independently with no collusion at all? Or do we, perhaps, both echo the solving pattern, difficulties and thoughts of most solvers (like the references to the red herring and the recollection of Dysart’s Kafka/Murakami one).

  2. Dave Shirley, I think there are probably even people out there who think that you and I are one and the same person! There are others who just wonder why they have a feeling of déja vu when they read the second of our two blogs. At the very least, you and I can enjoy reading each other’s thoughts … and know who is who.
    Shirley Dave.

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