Listen With Others

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L4565: ‘Folio’ by Nebuchadnezzar

Posted by Encota on 16 August 2019

Phew!  Was that the hardest of 2019 to date?  I think so!  Mine ended up looking like:

SCAN0623 copy

Initial challenges:

  • Deciding what the Preamble’s ‘zigzags either left or right and down‘ means!  Are these diagonally zigzagging entries?  i.e. should I be understanding it as ‘either left and down (at the same time) or right and down (at the same time).  And do all zigs and zags have to be the same length?  Normally Yes, I think!  However, using this technique then there appeared to be no way to fit eg 44, 49 or 50 into the Grid.  For example, how would 44’s CORDON fit when there are only four rows to play with?
  • Some tough and very clever clues!  For example,
       Alight from vessel, getting into Jag briefly (7)
    Once my train of thought got into DISBARK/ DEBARK territory it took me ages to get out again.  BURNING as URN in BING(e) only became clearer as I scanned my partially filled grid for possible Entry placements.  That sort of ‘Alight’, of course.  I also spent a long while trying to shoehorn either TED for ‘TV priest’ or FED for ‘given support’ into clue 2.  It was only after I had scoured the dictionary to find BRACKET FUNGUS at clue 22 that I began to see what was going on.
  • Deciding what the ‘two symbols’ bit in the Preamble was actually talking about – this was tricky in its own right
  • Completing the grid at all!  For some reason 4 and 5 were my last two solved and without them there were four options for 3’s ACCITE and 6’s PELLET to be entered.  I only finally sorted this by identifying all possible last letters for clue 4 and searching through all possible two-word Answers.  Thank goodness it began with A for AS LEVEL – if it’d had been SANTA FE then I might still have been looking days later!  SACCADE then dropped out for clue 5 – I have no idea why I made that one such hard work.
  • Deciding how to interpret “Grouped with the symbols, like the thematic work, the unclued letters specify how to submit the entire grid.” from the Preamble.
  • Deciding whether to put a central vein along the leaf.  It seems like it must be valid either with or without – though I am possibly missing something!

Red herrings along the way:

  • ‘efal’ downwards in Column 2, ‘hidden’ in brackets.  Is this the word that needs three letters interchanging?  That’d make LEAF downwards and that’s kind of relevant?  Isn’t it?  Except it destroys numerous words and the poem itself – and it isn’t a word (mere detail, I know) so that cannot be right!  Therefore ignore …
  • N(CSAT)INA in Row3.  Perhaps the ‘hidden 4-letter word’ is NINA and three out of four of CSAT need swapping?  TOSING works but the others???  Also ignore …

Nice hints:

  • The mirror imaging allowed me to find around four of the Clue’s Answers.
  • The Preamble says fill two of the empty cells on the bottom line to find the author, eecummings.  But I seem to have three gaps, as my bottom row reads T.E.CUMM.N.S  – does it have to read t.eecummings in Row 13?
  • The instruction would surely never damage the poem in the completed grid?
  • It cannot sensibly move the nine letters that spell out LOWER CASE around the leaf’s edge

A great spot from our setter, in a poem about loneliness, that the last four lines of the poem’s first letters begin SOLI.  Was this semi-SOLITUDE intentional on the part of eecummings, does anyone know?  There seems to be a lot of critique of his work online but much of it seems spurious at best.

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