Listen With Others

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Listener 4717: Unruly Characters by Somniloquist

Posted by vaganslistener on 15 Jul 2022

A fourth Listener from Somniloquist, and the first I am trying to solve while away on a family holiday, with just my trusty iPhone (OK with a few helpful apps on it …) and a real copy of the newspaper in front of me.

The theme proved to be a landmark 1939 piece of meta-fiction At Swim-Two-Birds. I’m supposed to have a degree from Oxford that includes twentieth century Eng Lit (in the days when English unblinkingly included Irish), but although I maxxed out on Joyce and Beckett, this passed me by, so I was on a journey with the characters, though happily neither getting into the wrong story nor meeting a fiery end at the Red Swan Hotel.

The preamble was interestingly worded talking of characters “escaping” from clue to grid or vice versa, and the likely double meaning of “character” was a good leg up, and primed me for the idea of a visual representation of a novel, even if the actual one needed a lot of help from Mr Wiki to establish. (Thankyou iPhone.)

I nervously noted that there seemed to be no requirement to highlight the paths the characters took, but just to illustrate the eventual conflagration, and did my best to produce a legible copy of my much-corrected grid on the grotty newsprint, borrowing some markers for the final effect.

So thanks to Somniloquist for an extra chapter in my Eng Lit education. I looked for your name (real and byline) in the grid just in case there was one final twist, but no, you too have happily escaped – and with a bit of luck so have I.

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