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Posts Tagged ‘e e cummings’

Folio by Nebuchadnezzar

Posted by shirleycurran on 16 Aug 2019

I have memories of Nebuchadnezzar’s last spectacular crossword which was a tough one to solve so I open this with some trepidation. I am expecting a fair splashing of alcohol to confirm his membership of the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Elite – and there is: ‘Satyrs reviewed drinks menu, wanting case (6)’ gives us (w)INE LIS(t)< (SILENI), and with that wine list to hand, he chooses a vintage, ‘French vintage and its vessel? (5)’ CRU + ET. Here is someone with taste – none of that ASTI that appears in so many crosswords. “Cheers, Nebuchadnezzar!”

What a long pre-ramble. “Almost as long as the clues!” someone commented to me, and it had so many ‘stages’ in it that it was somewhat disconcerting. I should have spotted what the ‘work’ was straight away wth that division into segments 3 2 2 2 3 1 and 5 cells, but must admit that our grid was almost complete and we had T E CUMM N S on the bottom row before the penny (Ed. Don’t you mean ‘leaf’?) dropped.









Yes, I admit that the title had led me to expect something from a Shakespeare Folio, even though ‘the full text of a work’ was rather a give-away (and the e e cummings poem is yet another that I have studied with students).

It took us a while to catch on to the fact that the use of left-right mirror symmetry in the grid was the key to entering solutions. ‘Every answer zig-zags either left or right and down’ led to attempts to enter letters diagonally – which got us nowhere at all, and we had cold-solved all but about ten of the clues before a real grid fill began.

There was some very subtle cluing there too but fortunately, once a solution was entered at one side of the grid, it was possible to find a skeleton of the matching solution on the other side. Grid almost full with T E CUMM N S on the bottom row and four more instructions to obey. Clearly we can give cummings his I and G, and if we assume that DUET at the left has to ‘interchange three letters’ it can create SOLITUDE (which I believe is the theme of his poem) and give him his e.

We have the nine letters of LOWER CASE appearing (or not appearing – omitted by wordplay) in sixteen clues – that was the difficult bit of the solve. I have to draw a falling leaf through those letters, and, of course, submit my entire grid in lower case. What a spectacular compilation! Many thanks to Nebuchadnezzar.


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From Where I’m Standing by Emu

Posted by shirleycurran on 26 Apr 2019

We were happy to see a relatively short preamble (though the three points of view it refers to kept us head-scratching for quite a while after we had completed a relatively gentle grid fill). Yes, I saw that Emu’s retention of his membership in the Listener Setters Oenophile Elite Outfit is rather tentative as his alcohol was in a very early stage ‘Grape and guava peeled and pureed (3)’ gave us an anagram of (g)UAV(a) – just the pureed grape, but ‘Cheers’ anyway, Emu. Someone has to provide the strong coffee. ‘Stimulant shot concealed by athlete’s press officer (8)’. Indeed, we can’t approve of those illegal stimulant shots but we did like the hidden ESPRESSO. (We had ‘shot’ as a potential extra word at first but ultimately opted for ‘Letters reprinted on every visible face of blocks’).

We were lucky in that a convenient Z emerging from a corrected misprint in the first clue – giving Zany for Many, soon led to ZIGGURAT appearing in those corrected letters. ‘Tenderfeet returned to split zany rocks giving crucial warning to Buffalo driver (9)’. We returned CUBS and inserted them into ROCKS* giving CROSSBUCK and were amazed to find that, for a driver in Buffalo that is a cross-shaped warning placed at a level crossing.

Not long after that, more corrected misprints gave us FROM WEST, so, with a full grid, we knew that viewing the ZIGGURAT from the west (presumably the left hand side of the grid) would reveal the ‘title character’s ultimate destination’. We had been told that ‘The grid represents a type of structure’ so I kick myself that it took us so long to see that we had to be looking at it from above. Even then we struggled to find ‘endless realms of day’.

Of course Google stepped in now and told us that the poem was The Eagle by e e cummings, and we could see EAGLE on the north side of the Ziggurat and THE on the east side so our point of view must be from the north-east, where we could see both of those sides of the structure and both the Es, and there was e e cummings, the poet, beginning at the apex of the poem. Robert Lorimer, the setter Opsimath, sent me this superb little reconstruction of the Ziggurat – he says it took him back to math model making, aged 11.

Dilemma! The poet would have been annoyed if we had written his name in upper case letters (and, in fact, the quotation begins half way along a line so would begin with a lower case e) but do we fill just his name in in lower case, the entire quotation too or even the entire grid? (Dare I mention KOHb at this stage?)

Many thanks to Emu for a challenging puzzle.

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