Listen With Others

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Listener No 4533: Telling Lies by Somniloquist

Posted by Dave Hennings on 4 January 2019

Last year’s puzzle from Somniloquist was based on the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and required a tricky quotation to go under the puzzle: “þe fayre hede fro þe halce hit to þe erþe”. Having spent ages tracking down the poem on the interweb, I then nearly forgot to change one of the ‘th’s to a þ. I hoped no unintended traps were waiting for me this week.

Good old extra letters in the wordplay greeted us for half the clues here, but it wasn’t long before something else seemed amiss. Although I should have sussed it with 1ac None find faults in fish, I got there a few clues later with 14ac Number eight conceals bedding ogre. Looking up bere revealed that it had nothing to do with ogres, just pillowcases.

It looked like these were the changes required in five other clues with a word missing in each. These turned out to be None, ogre, venom, own and loses. All well and good, but so what?

Eventually, the extra letters spelt out Cut out extra words then fold. Oh dear, and not for the first time this year, scissors again. Out came VENOM (row 2), LOSES (row 4), NONE (row 6), OGRE (row 7) and OWN (row 10).

Now I have to admit that it took me a few attempts at folding before I tried the simple left over right. So we had ALBERT and ANGELOBS JOHNSON! I decided on more sensible googling with Albert Angelo & Johnson, which revealed AA to be the eponymous title of a book by BS JOHNSON, et voilà. A bit of reading about it revealed that all the cutting out wasn’t just Somniloquist’s fanciful method of revealing the author and book. In it, Johnson, according to Wiki, “…achieved fame for having holes cut in several pages as a narrative technique.”

A bit of highlighting followed and the binning of the cut-out words saved JEG the trouble. I initially assumed the title had something to do with the book being full of holes, but a bit more Wikireading gave an extract from the book with Johnson’s belief that “telling stories is telling lies”. Sadly, he committed suicide at the age of 40.

Very entertaining and enlightening. Thanks, Somniloquist.
 

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