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Posts Tagged ‘Edgar Allan Poe’

Get Me Out of Here! by Nemo

Posted by shirleycurran on 19 May 2017

I have to admit that when I saw Nemo’s grid and read his preamble that told us that 38 answers were to follow ‘a path of contiguous, not barred-off cells from its number to one of the dots, without revisiting any cell along its path’ my initial reaction was ‘Get Me Out of Here!’ Of course, we were instantly thinking of clown fish and the children’s favourite Nemo. Was this a new setter or an old hand masquerading under a new pseudonym? The quality of the clue-writing certainly suggested the second. Surely some old hand wasn’t going to have a little clown fish tipped down a toilet and making its way to the sea along windy paths. Nothing to do but to get down to solving.

Well, there was, of course, that important check of whether Nemo will be invited into the Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit and he left us with little doubt. C4 ‘Ingredient of pick-me up is mountain plant (3)’ was a starter, producing only one possible word, MEU, which the Big Red Book confirmed to be a plant. ‘Drunken curate spilling a bottle of Dom? (5)’ gave us CURATE less A* and we got our CRUET which the BRB told us was ‘a vessel for wine or water for religious ceremonies’. ‘Reasons for leaving fizz there in Italy (4)’ brought in that fizzy white stuff that seems to be so popular in the UK, PROSECCO, with the PROS or ‘reasons for’ leaving just the ECCO. (What a superb clue!) Nemo might have left the fizzy in Italy but he continued with ‘Drink at Ed’s pub a series of rounds (5)’ – another lovely surface reading that gave us CHA+IN. There was more – ‘Knock back energy drink after I am shut up (5)’ E RUM after IM giving IMMURE, and then ‘Dad returned after imbibing one for Wally? (8)’. That one kept us head-scratching for a while at the end of our solve before yielding PA + LATER< around I to give PARIETAL which means ‘of a wall’. More clever cluing! Well, cheers, Nemo, little doubt about your place at the bar at the next setters’ dinner!

Of course, Nemo hadn’t finished with his alcoholic theme but THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO and its gory details were a long way ahead of us at this stage as we attempted to initially complete the rows then take those winding paths through them. I have inserted that neat little innocuous diagram at the head of my blog but how little it represents the reality of Tipp-ex and highlighters that kept us going up to dinner, via the first G & T and way beyond until almost midnight. No, this was not easy. The problem was that we needed to have all the rows in place to render the winding paths easier to establish and several of those affected the ones around them.

All went  fairly well until we reached the northwest corner. We had already used the R with a dot, for LEAGUER but we needed it if COAL-PORTER was to finish at an R, we couldn’t take the singer miner (how I liked that play on Cole Porter’s name!) to the top of the grid, since PLATEAU already went up there. I have read on the Answerbank, this morning, that other solvers immediately spotted the author and theme. How much easier it would have been if we had done that – but it was not to be.

We had finally moved OUTRED and LEAGUER and had a full grid (though had to back solve to find ROQUELAURE which was fully checked) with every solution in place before we found EDGAR ALLAN POE. Of course with the two Latin phrases staring us in the face, and …TILLADO appearing heading down to cell 6, the endgame was a gift, and I felt that we had earned one after that hard work. Of course I reread the evil

Jugged HSREA

little story and found a number of familiar words in there: ROQUELAURE, CRYPT, MOTLEY, and CHAIN to name a few, and, of course, a number of clues were thematic, ‘Primarily nitre accumulates to a great extent around inner chamber’, ‘…I am shut up’ and those words IMMURE and PARIETAL. In addition to the superb cluing, this puzzle was delightfully thematic with even a grid like the wall the insane MONTRESOR constructs so laboriously at the end of the story. Welcome to Nemo with this masterful debut and many thanks.

Ah yes, the HARES. they were there, of course, but in a rather confused bunch of HSREA up there at the top left hand corner of Montresor’s wall. They must have been (like me) desperately attempting to follow winding paths, afraid to find themselves jugged in a cask of amontillado.

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