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Posts Tagged ‘Ghost Story’

A Ghost Story by KevGar

Posted by shirleycurran on 24 July 2015

Timeo Danaos 001The preamble wasn’t too daunting and promised us something artistic at the end where we were going to replace ghosts by something more frightening. ‘some clues contain a misprint of one letter in the definition’. That ‘some’ is always mildly disconcerting (in this case it could be anywhere from two to forty-three) though they did reveal themselves fairly quickly and spell out Virgil’s Aeneid for us so that we had a stab at the theme long before we had a full grid.

But I am leaping ahead to that rather nice Trojan dog that my ten straight lines created (he does look a bit like a scotch terrier, head on, doesn’t he?). First I had to do my usual scan through the clues to check that KevGar still qualifies for the Listener topers’ club.

What do I find? ‘Drug’ in three of six consecutive clues; ‘A cold symptom observed returning before drug (5) (SEEN< + E = NEESE), ‘Adult swallowed up by hard drug — cry of dismay (3)’ (A in H H) and ‘Reprimand detective (mostly) found with drug — no fine (6)’ (REBU(s) + KE(f) with that ‘no fine’ meaning ‘endless’) and even JOINTS at 23dn in our grid. I find food; a ‘Young person eating wild animals around start of dinner: they’re made for di[V]ing (12)’ that produces SPRINGBOARDS and our first misprint. I find a ‘Fish starter of grouper with bits of cabbage (6)’ (G + RUNTS), ‘Fluffy Scotch eggs’ and ‘partner swapping’, and someone applying paint ‘topless’. What are setters coming to! – Standards are clearly dropping – but not a drop of alcohol.

Still, these are attractive and approachable clues (there should be a club for setters who have managed to include TSETSE in their grid – or maybe a more elitist club for the stars who have managed to avoid it, and all the other old chestnuts like PA, the Maori fort or their MERI, that ubiquitous ASTI, or the revolutionary CHE). However, KevGar’s TSETSE soon revealed its thematic function so he might be excused.

Yes, we had been solving for under an hour when VIRGIL appeared and which of us didn’t study Book II of the AENEID in our Latin classes (and which of us remembers any lines other than TIMEO DANAOS ET DONA FERENTES?) Amusingly, in the context of the current Greek problems, the Numpties were quoting that ‘fear’ of what the Greeks could do to each other earlier this week. I remembered something about ‘ut’ and ‘et’ clauses in Latin that we looked up:

‘Fear clauses take the construction of ut/nē + subjunctive. They are terrifying, because the meanings of ut and become reversed. In fear clauses, ut means “that not” and means “that.”Timeō veniat. I am afraid that he is coming! Timeō ut veniat. I am afraid that he is not coming!’ (I think the current Greek mess is a bit of an ‘ut’ situation!)

Trojan dog.

Trojan dog.

… but, of course, what we found when we checked our sources was that older versions of the ODQ have one slight difference from current ones and that, inexplicably, ‘ferentis’ appears in the place of ‘ferentes’. Chambers resolved it all and the other Numpty cooked supper while I hunted in the grid for what had to be a Trojan horse.

An endgame like this is right up my street. None of that grid-staring that solvers on the message board are currently complaining about in Elfman’s ‘Revelations of John’. A rather lean horse quickly emerged and it took only a minute to find ‘GHOSTS in some form’ hidden in there and replace them with GREEKS.

We thoroughly enjoyed this crossword with its lovely endgame.  Many thanks, KevGar.

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Ghost Story by Plinth

Posted by shirleycurran on 28 June 2013

LLL 001Can this really be Plinth’s first? There is no record of any other compilation by Plinth on Dave Hennings’ first-rate Crossword Database. Perhaps this is an experienced compiler lurking under a different pseudonym. It certainly was an impressive compilation. No, that doesn’t include the grid. The Numpties were moaning vociferously about what looked like four mini grids linked by just four letters that crossed those daunting boundaries. We realized that there must be some sort of reason for those and that the endgame might well explain all. (And, of course, it did. Plinth needed all those bars in order to include the words that so astonishingly changed their endings when we performed the heretical task of allocating Love’s Labours Lost to Francis Bacon! I don’t think I can bring myself to do that and will probably submit with Shakespeare in his rightful place!)

Solving began in earnest and proved to be great fun as clues from the officially numbered set and from the ‘Unnumbered’ ones yielded up their goodies with just about the same frequency (and reassurance that even if Plinth is a newcomer, he participates in the tipply Listener setter confrèrie. His first essay was disappointing as he ‘Put back stopper on claret that’s turned and last of Sauternes (7)’ [RED< after REIN< = DERNIER], but the wine seemed to recover with ‘Waiter with drinks for audience (4)’ [A Baiter = TEAS (heard)])

We were surprised by the number of Is that were appearing as corrected misprints and before long had what looked like a suspiciously familiar HONORIFICABILITUDINITATIBUS. I was on Numpty home ground and it didn’t take long to see that LOVE’S LABOURS LOST was appearing at the top of the grid and symmetrically in the centre with BY and W SHAKESPEARE on the bottom row. So this was a reference to Costard’s word and the Baconian theory of authorship of Shakespeare’s plays. We had the theme.

I began the laborious task of sorting out those clues into conventional order but soon abandoned and let the Internet tell me (again) about that silly theory that there is a long convoluted anagram that informs us that Francis Bacon wrote all of Shakespeare’s plays. HI LUDI F BACONIS NATI TUITI ORBI (I wonder what else that could tell us if we were willing to fiddle with it!)

This was great fun and all came together so well. It is certainly one of my favourites of the year so far. Many thanks, Plinth.

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