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Posts Tagged ‘Bassanio’

Meowed by Apt

Posted by shirleycurran on 25 January 2019

“Meowed? Something about a cat”, we mused, as we began our pencil and paper solve driving down from a week at 8000ft in the Sierra Nevada. Of course I checked to see whether Apt retains his membership of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Elite and he didn’t score too well with just ‘port’ towards the end of his clues ‘Heading north skinned fish departed port city (6) ODESSA went in there (Was it (p)ASSED O(n)

I’m jumping ahead. We read a clear preamble that led us to a play (“Probably Shakespeare, we said – maybe poor Tom is the cause of the Meowing.”) and a ‘purported’ error that we were going to rectify in the final grid. Extra words were going to be used in three different ways. Initial letters of those in across clues would give us words of a speech. Some in down clues would define the words created by the rectified ‘purported error’ and the remainder would give us letters to anagram, together with the circled letters, to form a term for the error. Nothing daunting there, and, after all, this was the first crossword of the year so we were expecting a gentle one.

Solving was speedy and by the time we reached Silicon Valley we had a full grid with just one doubt and a familiar phrase: “ALL DEBTS ARE CLEARED …” “BETWEEN YOU AND I”, I completed. That oh-so-magnanimous declaration of Antonio in The Merchant of Venice, when he is about to give his pound of flesh for Bassanio. “Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all miscarried. My creditors grow cruel. My estate is very low. My bond to the Jew is forfeit. And since in paying it, it is impossible I should live, all debts are cleared between you and I if I might but see you at my death. Notwithstanding, use your pleasure. If your love do not persuade you to come, let not my letter.”

We have that comical little book of English grammar ‘Between You and I” on the shelves at home and are well aware that the term of fussing about this traditional  use of the nominative after a preposition is considered to be ‘HYPERCORRECTION’ so it was an inverse solve to work out which of the extra words of the down clues were definitions of the Is that were to be changed to ME. RAMESES gave PHARAOH, MESHES gave NETWORK, GAMELY led to WILLINGLY, SMEGMA had to be SECRETION, HUMMED gave HOAXED, SMELT was the FISH and EMMETS areTOURISTS somewhere in the south-west. Nice, Apt.

Our missing letter was in E?EA ‘Less than half of tuition that’s on the web site for philosophers. Was this E-TEA(CHING) or E-LEA(RNING)? We needed Chambers to tell us that ELEATIC referred to ELEA, a gathering site for philosophers. Of course there was no Poor Tom – just ME OWED. Many thanks, Apt.

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