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Extreme Behaviour by Nudd

Posted by shirleycurran on 27 December 2013

Nudd Beginning end 001What have we here? Nudd. Well, that promises fair cluing. Answers to be treated in two ways before entry. Now that is a bit more ominous, as we are going to have to do plenty of cold-solving before we know what is going on. Out come the coloured markers – two colours for use later on. There is some highlighting to do in the final grid, ‘the two writers’,  so another marker  gives me that prompt (so silly to send a correct grid and forget the highlighting but I know some people do!) The fourth colour goes down the side of the clues as we have wordplay in each clue that leads to ‘an extra letter not entered in the grid; these letters form two quotations (one translated) that describe the method by which answers become entries’.

Clearly we have potentially three ways of understanding what is going on – the quotations, the two writers or by cold solving and spotting the means of entry. That is quite a challenge so I take a rest, pour myself a pre-dinner drink and scan the clues for proof of Nudd’s membership of the swigging setters association. He’s there sure enough, though I have to search through bones, lettuce, French sauce, milk, cream cakes, fish and shell-fish to find proof.

Nudd is imbibing in style! ‘Extremely bent leading Italian returns cracking roughly 8 pints (or maybe 12) (7)’ Difficult that one! We have PRI[M]A<  in HIN giving HAIRPIN. Next we come to ‘Pungent old brandy, unfinished, exhibiting sharp variation (7)’ SALT + [N]ANT[z]. Not just mixing the beer and brandy, we finally have a tipsy nun ‘Nun with sex appeal to drink Bordeaux (6)’ CLARE + [I]T. That was a new word for us. We needed Chambers to convince us that ‘to claret’ is to drink Bordeaux.

Solving went at a steady pace and in just about an hour we had passed our ‘maybe we can solve it’ point – twelve clues solved. However, with ULNAE, ACTION, ROUILLE, TURFIER, TIFOSO, PRAMS, SLOPE, PIASTRE, INANE, GATEAUX (yes, it became GATEAUS), CITHERN, SUPERGIANT and ITERATIONS pencilled into our grid, the method of entry wasn’t appearing via the cold solving process. More interesting were those letters of the quotation, which, when we solved the LEME and INFERNO clues, seemed to be giving us two similar quotations, both containing the word BEGINNING.

Almost simultaneously we saw a potential T.S.ELIOT and what had seemed to be an impossible struggle suddenly made sense. T.S.Eliot’s Four Quartets were part of my A Level programme many years ago. How I loved Burnt Norton – but this was from East Coker wasn’t it. The ODQ not only confirmed that but also gave a helpful prompt cf. Mary Stuart, and, sure enough, under Mary Queen of Scots, I find ‘En ma fin git mon commencement’ ‘In my end is my beginning’. What a clever idea to use these two quotations in this way, Nudd, and what a challenge for a setter.

Even with the remaining letters in place, we had quite a task sorting out the remaining clues and working out which had the initial letter slotted into the end and which moved their final letter into place between the first and the second. We had to have a dinner break and to claret before all was finally in place and we could breathe a sigh of relief and thanks to Nudd.

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