Listen With Others

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Listener No 4549: From Where I’m Standing by Emu

Posted by Dave Hennings on 26 Apr 2019

Emu’s last (and first) Listener was two years ago. Then we had One-man Band which was based on the Ealing comedy, Kind Hearts and Coronets. In case you didn’t know, last year’s Ealing comedy Listener was Doing a Sort; it was based on The Ladykillers and it won setter Elgin the Ascot Gold Cup.

This week’s puzzle had fairly forgiving clues and was finished in just over the hour… well, it was only an 11×11 grid. The correct letters for the misprints gave Ziggurat, from west and the extra words in eight clues gave Letters reprinted on every visible face of blocks.

In hindsight, I should have got there a bit sooner than I actually did. I was sidetracked by some famous novels by unknown writers, World Life and Espresso, and All Gaelic Chain Mail. My real red herring was seeing ANIMULA running down column 9 when looking at the grid from the west (left). It turned out to be a poem by TS Eliot, but I couldn’t see him, or any of the poem’s words, in the grid.

Eventually, I realised that a ziggurat could be a pyramid, rather than just a sort of cubic tomb or like the Tower of Babel. Redrawing the grid a bit more neatly enabled me to see what was going on… sort of! I had spotted THE/EAGLE fairly early on, and that was a poem by Tennyson. Like Eliot, I couldn’t track him down anywhere in the grid.

Luckily, a bit more research unearthed an Eagle poem by EE Cummings. Thus the western half of the grid revealed “Ever drifting, drifting away Into the endless realms of day“. But that wasn’t what needed highlighting. That was to be found when the pyramid was looked at from the northeast, with author and poem straddling the corner of the pyramid.

At last, the somewhat cryptic bit of the preamble, “… solvers must add an extra letter in each of three cells” became clear. The letters straddling the corner of the pyramid were enhanced to give EE CUMMINGS THE EAGLE. I’m not exactly sure whether we were meant to put Cummings in lower case, or tilt the letters to the northeast, but, rightly or wrongly, I decided that wasn’t necessary.

For me, this wasn’t an easy endgame by any means, but very satisfying to get there in the end. Thanks, Emu.


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