Listen With Others

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Round Table Man by Banjaluka

Posted by shirleycurran on 12 Nov 2021

Banjaluka? A new name to us and it didn’t really suggest an old hand using a different pseudonym. There were rather a lot of Round Table Men so, though we suspected we might be going to find Arthur or Lancelot, we didn’t linger long over that (and didn’t think of anagrmming it until we were given a hint by the extra letters emerging from the clues – that was a couple of hours later): ‘ENDS OF FOUR VERSES; NOVEL TITLE’.

Yes, a novel, or anagrammed title produced AN ARUNDEL TOMB and, after a lot of bungling with the simple mathematics involved in the letter equivalence we had finally found LARKIN and a space (yes, it took me forever to understand that T + Y would equal R and not T, when we adjusted our calculation to include the space, and we had ignored that instruction initially and produced a most peculiar set of letters!)

The ends of the words that gave us those letters spelled out SHADE AREA BOUNDED BY THEME RED and we knew that would affect 103 cells (leaving 53 unshaded – that was some shading!)

When we found Larkin’s poem on the Internet we realized why extra words had spelled LITTLE DOGS, HAND HAND, and LATIN NAMES but were rather puzzled by LESTER, FANNIE, SIEGMUND and LAETITIA.The COUNTESS and THE EARL (with that space) appeared symmetrically in the grid and the little dogs, PEKE and PUG were at their feet with the Latin names, TITUS and NERO below the tomb but we had to somehow use those namesand produce 47 letters of thematic material.

Penny-drop-moment! It was the fifth verse ‘The endless altered people came’ that told us to use those names with their last letters removed and ‘altered’ or anagrammed. This was clever compiling! We still had to use the two HANDs to create the final image. I fiddled for too long attempting to use that TTITU (in diTTIT U sanko) to fulfil the words ‘Only an attitude remains’ but, of course, the ‘attitude’ was the love still apparent between these two stone effigies, represented by the heart we coloured red.

‘RED’! Have I forgotten something? Does Banjaluka earn his place at the Listener Setters’ Oenophile bar? Obviously yes, with so much red, but I had also noted earlier that ‘I, as Morse, torn for second day, did scotch in Bunnahabhain (6)’ (We removed the R and replaced the second D(ay) of DIT DIT with T(on) to give DITTIT – what a word for ‘scotched’!)

Bunnahabhain! We have visited that Islay distillery. Apart from the lovely malt (not too peaty) with the pale blue label, my richest memory is of the seal. The fishermen were feeding it leftover fish and it was leaping out of the water to catch them. It’s a lovely place (Port Askaig) and well worth a visit.

Cheers, Banjaluka!

With all the red, the Bunnahabhain single malt and the Scotch, we have to say “Cheers Banjaluka! and congratulations on a brilliant first Listener – if it is a first.


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