Listen With Others

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Disappearances by Eck

Posted by shirleycurran on 20 Jul 2018

I usually devote some hours of Saturday morning to the creation of these blogs but it is now Sunday afternoon. OK, I do have visiting two and five-year old grandchildren which renders solving and blogging rather intermittent experiences but that is not the only reason for the late start. (Do I hear a murmur of agreement? This was tough and I haven’t fully deciphered that message from the misprints even now and have a sneaking suspicion that my final interpretation of its import might be flawed).Eck

The preamble told us to use ‘some of the letters from region B’ to ‘locate the reporting’. Yes, we had, after an immense struggle, completed our original grid and found that it resolved the question of which of three pairs of letters to omit when we worked out that we were using the third speech of Ariel, reporting Ferdinand in The Tempest. “Hell is empty, the devils are all here.”

However, I had something like ALTERNATING HITCH (or NITCH) SWITCH for which letters to move. Clearly we had to ’empty’ the underworld or Hell and move alternating letters, but did I need only to move some of them to put all the devils in the upper world or did I need to move all the alternating ones? I opted for the second alternative but wonder whether a better understanding of the message might have led to the first.

I found my eight devils, with Mrs Bradford’s help: INCUBUS, EBLIS, DAVY JONES,  MEPHISTO, APOLLYON, BEELZEBUB, SATAN and LUCIFER. (SATAN was a lovely give-away and confirmed what was needed. This part of the solving was pure entertainment after a very long drawn out battle to produce our original grid. What difficult clues some of them were with misprints that didn’t always leap into view.

But have I forgotten something? Does Eck maintain his place at the Listener bar? He left little doubt: ‘Apparently a patient producer of drams (6)’ led to ONE ILL or ‘a producer of DRAMA – O’Neill – no drams there then, but the next clue continued the alcohol theme. ‘Phoenician betters level of acidity in drinks (6)’ Giving us a misprint for letters, ALEPHS and putting PH into ALES.

Mixing the drams and ales produced the expected effect, ‘I am primarily blotto, ensnared by eg Kolsch (7)’. Google tells me that Kolsch is German beer so that gave me I’M with BIER round B(lotto) or IMBIBER. No wonder we got ‘one in pickle’ in the next clue which put SOUSE round BI to give us a SOUBISE or an old tie. With all that imbibing, I am amazed that Eck could create such subtle clues – or such a masterpiece of construction. Thank you Eck!



2 Responses to “Disappearances by Eck”

  1. Colin Thomas said

    Looks like it was DITCH rather than HITCH or NITCH – I must admit I was a HITCH person as well. Presumably ‘dam’ rather than ‘pah’?

  2. dyste said

    I’m another who had HITCH and didn’t even consider ‘Pam’ could be a misprint for ‘dam’ (never come across that alternative spelling). I think it was slightly unfair to have at least three possibilities for a key word in an instruction that was somewhat oblique anyway. That’s really my only criticism since the clues were very fine indeed.

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