Listen With Others

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Listener No 4590, Bros: A Setter’s Blog by Vismut

Posted by Listen With Others on 9 Feb 2020

A lifelong fan of Gerald Durrell and his books, I have Fillets of Plaice on my bookshelf. Chapter One describes how, when sitting on a beach in Corfu with a large bottle of retsina, Gerald discussed with his brother Lawrence what to call his compilation of stories. Lawrence who had recently published his own compilation of letters called Spirit of Place suggested Fillets of Plaice.

I was immediately struck by the fact that the titles and first names of these books and brothers in combination had the same number of letters and tried, unsuccessfully to begin with, to make this work for me and the puzzle. As a setter of these puzzles you find yourself counting the number of letters in words all the time. You may be reading a book (4), a paper (5), a menu (4) or watching the television (10), whatever it is you’re counting the letters.

A number of attempts later and with advice from more experienced setters like Chalicea (8) and Mr E (3, two words) and after several weeks the puzzle was ready to go. Further amendments from the Listener editors gave it some polish. Many thanks for the help everyone.

Meanwhile back to the Durrells. What a family this was and what a magical world Gerald Durrell conjures up in his writing. If you haven’t read any of his books other than My Family and Other Animals you’ve missed a treat


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