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Posts Tagged ‘Get Me Out Of Here!’

Listener No 4448: Get Me Out of Here! by Nemo

Posted by Dave Hennings on 19 May 2017

The first thing that struck me about this week’s puzzle was the size and shape of the grid… 192 squares of it, presumably representing a wall. What’s more, there were 31 squares which were completely barred off. The second thing I noticed was that the setter was Nemo. Well, he may not be a Nobody, but he certainly seemed to be a Newbie.

A reading of the preamble disclosed that, while the Rows were entered normally from left to right, the answers to Path clues were entered snake-like from starting square to one of the squares with a dot in the top right corner. When all the answers had been entered, we would be able to trace out a title and fill in the 31 barred off squares. I just hoped that I’d be able to unravel it all.

Of course, my first guess was that the wall was the one in Shakespeare’s play within a play: Pyramus and Thisbe from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The last time that was used in a Listener was way back in 2003 with Obiter’s Hole in the Wall, so it was due another outing. The trouble this week was that there seemed to be 31 holes in the wall!

Starting with the Row clues, I was gratified to find that, at first sight, they were relatively straightforward with the three Row A clues quickly solved. Sadly, at second sight, Rows B and C revealed only two each, Row D none, and Row E one. This was going to be one tough newbie!

I started on the Path clues and finished my first pass through all of them in about an hour and a quarter with just over twenty solved. However, none of them could be entered with more than one or two letters. What was worse was that they weren’t helping much with my unsolved Row clues.

After that, it was slow progress, but gradually letters were teased out and into the grid. At the end of four hours, split over two sessions, the grid was looking much healthier. There were still some gaps around the middle, with one or two clues being particularly recalcitrant. Even 2 Cooler? This croaker may end up there (4) which was (almost) obviously ICER took an age to work out its American ‘kill’ relevance. Also 13 Rattly breath of spirit with short time to go (4), which I had a (less than convinced) feeling was ROAR, ended up as RALE (MORALE – MO).

With most of the right half of the diagram complete, I thought I’d have a go at identifying the title. Working back from square 6, ODALLI enabled me to suss AMONTILLADO which took me into the top half of the grid. There, THE in Row 2 (from the top) and OF in Row 5 led to my first guess The Mask of Amontillado, the follow-up to The Count of Monte Cristo.

OK, unlikely, but CASK was soon spotted. I still needed Google to reveal the intriguing story of Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado centred around the incarceration of (un)Fortunato by Montresor. This enabled the left, right and central isolated cells to be completed: MONTRESOR, FORTUNATO and EDGAR ALLEN POE. A bit more reading of the Wiki article revealed the phrases necessary for the top and bottom rows: “[Nemo] ME IMPUNE LACESSIT” (“No one attacks me with impunity”) and “IN PACE REQUIESCAT!” (“May he rest in peace!”)

All in all, this one took over 4½ hours to get to this stage, but I still had some entries that didn’t quite fit into the grid. I therefore spent another 90 minutes with another copy, refilling the grid and tracing the entries to make sure that all the black dots were accounted for and finally being happy.

On the clue front, my favourites were 10, with its reference to Hillary Clinton’s daughter CHELSEA, and 18 Songwriter said he’d handle stuff of mine (10) for COAL-PORTER! I have to say that my least favourite clue (and the one I solved last) was 33 Dad returned after imbibing one for Wally? (8) for PARIETAL (PA + LATER< containing I) — in my view, this required not only the question mark, but also some exclamations!!!!!! (yes, six would do it).

As I transposed the grid from my working copy to the one for submission, I got to the middle line. Now, how do you spell Poe's first names? Well, that was close, it's ALLAN not ALLEN.

I have to say that I, probably along with others, had a sneaky feeling that this was an existing setter masquerading under a different pseudonym. If not, this was an excellent debut. Not only was the theme beautifully devised, but the clues were on the tricky side of tricky. Thanks, Nemo, and I look forward to number two.

And apologies for no animation this week — just the thought of it gave me a headache!
 

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Get Me Out Of Here! by Nemo

Posted by Encota on 19 May 2017

First of all, thanks to Nemo for a tough, challenging puzzle!

So it wasn’t a reference to the TV feast that is “I Have Delusions of Being a Celebrity, GMOOH”, after all.  As an aside, I trust all in Listener land have passed the “Which one is Ant & which one is Dec?” test?  The best solution that I have been offered is:

  • They always stand in alphabetical order when viewed on your screen.

L4448solution

Meanwhile, back to the puzzle.  The PDM when spotting the theme was excellent, I thought.  Luckily the bottom right corner meant that there were few options for how it ended, so finding THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO was relatively straightforward.  I understand that some describe this as ‘the perfect short story’ and it is one that I haven’t yet read, so I will be doing so in the very near future (thanks again Listener for an educational prompt!).

So EDGAR ALLAN POE, MONTRESOR and FORTUNATO soon went in to fit with Row answers already in place and it took only a little more investigation to find the phrase (NEMO) ME IMPUNE LACESSIT from the story.

My poorly remembered Latin meant I struggled for a little with the lower phrase but when the word REQUIESCAT (rather than QUIESCAT that I’d been hunting for – d’oh!) popped to mind, then a small amount of research found the whole phrase and the thematic part was complete.  The first PDF of the short story that I found had ‘helpfully’ translated the Latin phrases out of it, which slowed me down a wee while!

As far as solving time was concerned I was at that stage, however, only about a third through this puzzle!  The path-based clues were a real challenge and I took half a day’s rest before coming back to sort out the last four or five.  Last few for me were:

  • 33.    Dad returned after imbibing one for Wally? (8)
    PARIETAL as PA + I in LATER<
  • 21.  Opponent of Huguenot siege, once (7)
    LEAGUER, dd
  • 22.  Drink at Ed’s pub a series of rounds (5)
    CHAIN, CHA IN, with the IN (clued as Ed’s pub) catching me out for ages,
    I won’t forget that one!
  • 13.  Rattly breath of spirit with short time to go (4)
    RALE, which initially I thought was a cryptic clue, until after the
    event I spotted (mo)RALE
  • 2.    Cooler?  This croaker may end up there (4)
    ICER, can’t really see why it’s this even though several of the words
    are relevant.  Luckily the checked letters sorted this one for me.  Is it just a
    morgue / chiller angle?  All hints welcomed

And prior to that, C3 Leaves navy of old coastal city (4), i.e.
TEAN had taken me ages, though it’s obvious in retrospect, like many good clues.  I spent far too long trying to apply the shoe-horn, assuming the answer (for some reason known only to myself) to be GOAN.

I did feel the need to double-check that each dot had been used once and once only, as my draft grid had got a bit ‘busy’ by the time I had indicated to myself which path was which.  I eventually opted for the diagram below, just to convince myself…

L4448paths

At least twice I ended up re-printing out the grid and trying to double-check which end dots I had – and hadn’t – already used, to try and get a bit more inspiration for the last few Answers above.

My favourite three clues all involved definitions that were not all they at first seemed:

   Dad returned after imbibing one for Wally? (8)

PARIETAL, with the definition of ‘Wally?’ for ‘wall-like’ raising a smile, and

   Wanton desire to receive a perk, possibly (5)

LEACH, with ‘perk’ being short for percolate a superb piece of deception, I felt!

And finally

   Break clean from a faction?

ROMAN A CLEF, with the deceptive definition of ‘faction’ for ‘fact-based fiction’ rather than its surface reading again making me grin!

With all the paths to chase down, this was one of the harder Listeners of the year so far.  The last five ‘meandering’ clues went in during the following day, which has been something of a rarity in 2017.

Cheers

Tim / Encota

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