Listen With Others

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Listener 4310: Net Book Agreement by Charybdis

Posted by Jaguar on 26 Sep 2014

Those of you who read Shirley’s blog on Ruslan’s final effort might be wondering why I didn’t blog the numerical. Especially as she drew attention to my apparently going to. For that matter, where was I last week? At a Summer School in Southampton, is the answer, when I had the time to solve the two Listeners but not really much else. For what it’s worth, I thought the Ruslan puzzle contained a very nice idea but once you’d got past the arcane preamble the solve was not too tricky, and for me mostly involved staring at a table of primes generated by (6n+1/ 6n-1) until I found a pair that worked for each clue. Not much else to say about that, except to thank Ruslan for the last time, belatedly, for his efforts. It was his Number or Nummer that drew me into this world for good, so wherever you are, thank you.

Last week’s puzzle had a fine finish but the unching was stretching the normal rules to breaking point; thank goodness for easy clues, then! So that’s brought me up-to-date. To make up for it all I thought I’d blog an even-numbered puzzle for a change.

I started solving this one on my way back from Southampton — or, more accurately, at a stop-off in London. The train journey from Southampton to Edinburgh is over seven hours and I was going to have to start at about 3pm, so not really an ideal journey for a single day. Much better to break in London, see my godmother, visit Cambridge again and head home on Sunday. Which is what I did. On the evening, once I’d had a bit of time to myself, I started this puzzle. The preamble was rather a long one… I even read it out at one point, causing my host some bemusement! Arcane or not, the clues at least were manageable, and it didn’t take me long to get to a complete grid, deduce the theme, find the author and uncover the message. I think that probably sums up most people’s solving path for this puzzle. And I dare say many people will recognise the next step: “now what?”

Very blatantly the theme was some book by Lynne Reid Banks (there she is, in the shape of an L), called The L-Shaped Room. And look, there’s the title in the second row! Well, most of it… so where’s the rest? Hours of staring followed… interrupted by a pleasant trip back to Cambridge. Lots of reminiscing and nostalgia, some familiar faces, and thankfully not a bad day!

Back to the puzzle… and more staring. And yet more. The key is clearly in finding that final OM… but I can’t see it! Oh, well. Perhaps looking for the net in another way helps… and, at least, there is a jumble of PRESS FLATS attached to the second row — I suppose that’s the floor, since it’s an L-shape — and a WO underneath. Oh yeah, if you turn that round it sort of reads OM. So that must be it!

What a tough endgame! At least two, maybe three times longer than the grid fill. But a very pretty finish, and remarkably clever too. I wonder what the room looks like if you actually build it rather than just sketch the net.


One Response to “Listener 4310: Net Book Agreement by Charybdis”

  1. charybdis said

    Thanks, Jaguar. You weren’t alone in finding the clues easy, the endgame tough. I hadn’t foreseen that at all, I have to say. See

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