Listen With Others

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Listener 4271: Extreme Behaviour by Nudd

Posted by Dave Hennings on 27 December 2013

This was Nudd’s third Listener, following on from the pushmi-pullyu in 4136 Cross-reference and 4191 Full Instructions Included where a bit of word-mangling was required. This week’s looked like a bit more mangling would be needed.

Listener 4271Entries were to be entered after undergoing one of two mangle-types based on quotations by two authors. We were told that the one of the writers had two initials (1,1,5), the other just one (1,6). I ssumed (only 50% correctly as it turned out) that this was how they were popularly known. Of course, I jumped to the wrong conclusion about the first, with only AA Milne coming to mind and I assumed that we would be in Winnie the Pooh country. If only TS Eliot had got there first!

With extra letters in the wordplay to contend with, I didn’t get many across entries, but at least it seemed that we wouldn’t have to throw any letters away or add any. Apart from 1 ULNAE, the rest were all in the right-hand side of the grid: 14 PIASTRE, 16 LEME, 18 ROUILLE, 25 NILOTES and 28 INANE. I homed in on 9dn, and despite its sneaky clue Food allowances for builders? These keep repeating (10) quickly got [S]ITERATIONS.

So I had half a dozen entries interlocking. That should be easy to see if there’s a pattern. A few minutes later, after a bit of word-juggling (less extreme than mangling), it seemed that either the first or last letter was moving positions, and presumably we would end up with twenty of each in the final grid. Even at this point, I’m afraid that Eliot didn’t come to mind.

However, I didn’t have to wait long before I spotted B·G appearing as early extra letters in the across wordplays. So that would be beginning and I was nearly off on a wild goose chase, with Philip Larkin’s “a beginning, a muddle and an end” being the first thing that crossed my mind — except that had appeared in a 2011 Listener and it was unlikely to appear again. And anyway, that would be three ways of treating the entries, not two.

Of course, I finally got there, despite some hold-ups along the way: ‘Master of Surgery’ wasn’t just MS, but CM (Chirurgiae Magister), the Ancient city wasn’t ‘Ur’ but ‘polis’ and the Super G ski event… well, that had totally escaped my mind since I don’t watch Ski Sunday very often.

We were left with In my beginning is my end from TS ELIOT’S Four Quartets and In my end is my beginning, the English translation of Mary Queen of Scots’ En ma fin git mon commencement. She had to be found in the grid as M STUART, or rather STUARMT, with Eliot as TTSELIO, each changed in accordance with their quotation.

An enjoyable outing from Nudd, thanks, although the puzzle was not quite as easy as my blog probably makes out!

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