Listen With Others

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Listener No 4565: Folio by Nebuchadnezzar

Posted by Dave Hennings on 16 Aug 2019

Nebuchadnezzar’s first Listener was nearly two years ago and was based on the Dudeney/Lloyd nine dots puzzle which was great fun. This week, zigzagging answers in a grid that had left-right mirror symmetry and an endgame that seemed to indicate more drawing!

Fitting all the entries in was very enjoyable and basically involved working from the top down. I wondered at first whether “… zigzags either left or right and down” included, for example, left–down–right–down–left, but plumped for it only meaning an entry could go left or right but not both.

Progress was fairly slow, but I got there in the end via some fun clues. These included 11 Satyrs reviewed drinks menu, wanting case (6) for SILENI ((w)INELIS(t)<) and 20 Appropriate cover of toaster catches fire (7) for TROUSER (ROUSE in T(oaste)R). I was somewhat suspicious of Nebuchadnezzar’s sense of humour with 20 Getting intimate, vocalise with others? (6) for COSING!

I’ll confess at this point that I was miles into the solve before I realised that the grid was 12×13 rather than standard 12×12. As a result, my nine cells omitted by wordplay which were “symmetric in a diagonal axis” were constantly moving!

On to the endgame, and I was faced with adjacent segments of 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 1 and 5 cells being the full text of a work. This seemed totally confusing until two of the four empty cells in the bottom row could be completed to give CUMMINGS. I thought it a shame that Neb couldn’t fix the bottom left corner to give EE rather than TE. Except of course he did… but not just yet!

All I had to do now was find the relevant poem, and the symbolic brackets in rows 1 and 6 were obviously relevant. I’m afraid that I couldn’t see what it was, but a carefully crafted google revealed the poem to be (rejigged): “l (a leaf falls) oneliness”. With SOLIDUET changed to SOLITUDE at the bottom of column 1, EE was complete.

All that was left now was some drawing. As far as I’m concerned, 2019 will go down as the Year of Listener Drawing. This time, it was a leaf drawn through the letters omitted from the wordplay.

Bingo! Except not! A final read of the preamble before putting my entry in its envelope and I saw what I had forgotten — the entire grid had to be written in LOWER CASE. I don’t know whether JEG would have accepted a post-it note attachment asking him to treat the grid as such, but I felt confident that he wouldn’t. And so, the entire grid — leaf and all — had to be redone.

Thanks for some good entertainment, Nebuchadnezzar.


One Response to “Listener No 4565: Folio by Nebuchadnezzar”

  1. Andrew Varney said

    Interesting that everyone here drew the leaf essentially the same way. I guess I must have misread something as I understood that we had to connect the brackets too and my leaf was the other way around.

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