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Ghost Story by Plinth

Posted by shirleycurran on 28 Jun 2013

LLL 001Can this really be Plinth’s first? There is no record of any other compilation by Plinth on Dave Hennings’ first-rate Crossword Database. Perhaps this is an experienced compiler lurking under a different pseudonym. It certainly was an impressive compilation. No, that doesn’t include the grid. The Numpties were moaning vociferously about what looked like four mini grids linked by just four letters that crossed those daunting boundaries. We realized that there must be some sort of reason for those and that the endgame might well explain all. (And, of course, it did. Plinth needed all those bars in order to include the words that so astonishingly changed their endings when we performed the heretical task of allocating Love’s Labours Lost to Francis Bacon! I don’t think I can bring myself to do that and will probably submit with Shakespeare in his rightful place!)

Solving began in earnest and proved to be great fun as clues from the officially numbered set and from the ‘Unnumbered’ ones yielded up their goodies with just about the same frequency (and reassurance that even if Plinth is a newcomer, he participates in the tipply Listener setter confrèrie. His first essay was disappointing as he ‘Put back stopper on claret that’s turned and last of Sauternes (7)’ [RED< after REIN< = DERNIER], but the wine seemed to recover with ‘Waiter with drinks for audience (4)’ [A Baiter = TEAS (heard)])

We were surprised by the number of Is that were appearing as corrected misprints and before long had what looked like a suspiciously familiar HONORIFICABILITUDINITATIBUS. I was on Numpty home ground and it didn’t take long to see that LOVE’S LABOURS LOST was appearing at the top of the grid and symmetrically in the centre with BY and W SHAKESPEARE on the bottom row. So this was a reference to Costard’s word and the Baconian theory of authorship of Shakespeare’s plays. We had the theme.

I began the laborious task of sorting out those clues into conventional order but soon abandoned and let the Internet tell me (again) about that silly theory that there is a long convoluted anagram that informs us that Francis Bacon wrote all of Shakespeare’s plays. HI LUDI F BACONIS NATI TUITI ORBI (I wonder what else that could tell us if we were willing to fiddle with it!)

This was great fun and all came together so well. It is certainly one of my favourites of the year so far. Many thanks, Plinth.

One Response to “Ghost Story by Plinth”

  1. Jaguar said

    It was perhaps a bit of a shame that the grid was a bit closed. I essentially completed this in four bits, starting from top left and working my way round, but in the end it was worth it. I’m familiar with the theme word and story of Francis Bacon apparently writing the booked from this word. The order of peeny-drop moments, I think, was seeing the play and then realising that the gobbledygook extra letters I was getting were “that made-up word that gives that anagram about Bacon?” So I knew what the substitution was going to be before I arrived at the bottom part of the grid, and that helped me progress.

    A very fine puzzle with a lovely theme. Thanks for the blog!

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