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Posts Tagged ‘Rabelais’

Got Me! by Towser

Posted by shirleycurran on 7 Apr 2017

‘Got Me!’ That title didn’t give us any hints and wasn’t an obvious anagram of anything but we were pleased to see a relatively short preamble warning us that we were to find five clashes and a total of sixteen extra words (Oh dear, that device again – it is a bit of a minefield isn’t it as it is oh so easy to find redundant words that the setter didn’t intend us to find – and chaos ensues!) There were to be eight in across clues and eight in down clues – a kind of symmetry.

Of course I had to check Towser’s right to re-admission to the Listener Setters’ Tipsy Club and he was almost thrown out until his ‘Harmonised advanced desire for excess (6)’ (A + GREED) readmitted him. Then there was ‘Paid for abysmally small measure of Scotch (7)’ giving PAID PER* = DRAPPIE. Jumping ahead, those extra down letters intriguingly spelt out ALCOFRIBAS NASIER and my memories of teaching French and helping sons with French homework (well, Rabelais was fairly tough stuff for them when they were thirteen or fourteen!) reminded me that that was an anagram of FRANCOIS RABELAIS. The ‘ALCO’ bit was surely a fleeting reference to drink?

Not just drink; there was a fine array of food too, which was rather appropriate for a crossword that celebrated Pantagruel and Gargantua. In a whole series of very fair and approachable clues, we found CARPACCIO, ‘Strips of raw meat, fish accompanied by twice-peeled onions (9)’ (CARP + ACC + [on]IO[ns]), VINEGAR, ‘Bad temper shown by climber before Pike (7)’ (VINE + GAR), ESCAROLE, ‘Casserole cooked without special [dried] endive (8)’ (CASSEROLE* less S), ‘Italian city cooked crabs, that is (7)’ (CRABS + IE* = BRESCIA), PASTA, ‘Head of asparagus added to out-of-date macaroni, say (5)’ (PAST + A(sparagus)), VEAL, ‘Some have a [nasty] lividity in young flesh (4)’ (hidden in ‘haVE A Lividity) and finally GRUEL, ‘Archaic punishment that would be merciless if government were Conservative (5) (CRUEL with G for C). Quite a feast!

We were lucky to spot that GARGANTUA and PANTAGRUEL were appearing in the grid (with a couple of clashes with MANTUA and INK IN) and instantly suspected that PANURGE was in those letters ending in URGE at 27d. So François Rabelais was sure to be hiding in there and, of course, he was. It was enjoyable to fill the rest of the grid with just one clue resisting us, ‘Doctor’s vehicle ditching discontinued Jack. Of course we finally sussed out that we were in Doctor Who territory and the TARDIS was dropping the DIS to give TAR = JACK – nice.

The other extra letters gave FAY CE QUE VOULDRAS, (Do whatever you would like to do), Rabelais’ words, and the motto of the Abbey of Thélème. I am not sure that they would be a great help to solvers but it is always an aspect of Listener crosswords that we learn something – like that word METAGRABOLISE that climbed in the non-dominant diagonal in the grid and anagrammed RABELAIS and a few other letters. It gave us that central A. Yes, there was a massive red herring there for us as the word we knew for ‘to puzzle out’ was METAGROBOLISE but, of course, that doesn’t have the two As of RABELAIS in it. P.d.m. – now I understand ‘Got Me’ and it nearly did! It’s a compound anagram. Add that to RABELAIS and what do we get – to puzzle it out. Nice one!

I’m rather suspicious of those crosswords where I have to add a set number of bars as it is so easy to overlook one or two. It took me three attempts to confirm that I had added 34, even though there wasn’t really another way of obtaining 50 entries (one an abbreviation – USN for the US Navy – that was a bit of a downer but I can’t see how the setter could have avoided it and maybe it gives us setters a precedent and the right to sneak in an unavoidable abbreviation).

Many thanks, Towser for an enjoyable crossword.

Ah, the elusive golden HARE?  Of course it’s hiding in there (with a mate); one of them is in a bit of a jumble and the other curling up, but they are there!

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Got Me! by Towser

Posted by Encota on 7 Apr 2017

Many thanks Towser for a very interesting and not too taxing puzzle.  I found this one contained quite a variety of elements!  Many of the clues seemed fairly straightforward and generous to the solver.  For example:

  Handled glasses, rereading long, endless letters (9)

looks like a simple anagram of LONG (l)ETTER(s) and yes, LORGNETTE it is.  Clever use of ‘Handled’ in the clue’s definition, I like it!

The missing bars at first seemed strange too, since, given the placement of the clue numbers one could deduce the position of all the bars straight away.  But hold on a minute: these ones aren’t part of a 180-degree symmetric grid!  Some clearly will need to move later on.

With around half of the entries placed in the grid I suddenly noticed Row 4 contained RABELAIR.  Given its closeness to RABELAIS, I soon confirmed that the cell with the final R in was one of the five clashes mentioned in the preamble since, in the appropriate Down clue,

 All parts of manuscripts introduced by base, sick acts? (6)

…the answer/entry was EMESES, MSS with each character preceded by an E to represent base.

At this stage my total knowledge of Rabelais consisted of ‘French writer?’ with the emphasis on the Question Mark.  Auntie Google soon helped me out with PANTAGRUEL as one of his works; an across clue looked very like GARGANTUA though I hadn’t realised this was Rabelais too.  Column 2’s down entry looked certain to be Francois (though the ‘RACK’ in the original 14d clue had thrown me a bit – the original answer surely still had to be FRANCK though.  And I recognised PANURGE (no idea why!) when it appeared, too.

Once these were in place there was only one sensible way to include the 34 bars and the 50 entries, though this did take some care and I wouldn’t be surprised if I made yet another crayoning error here – though hopefully not!

The phrases that came from the hidden 16 words:



were also new to me.  Finding out that Francois Rabelais first published under an anagram of his own name (what’s a cedilla between friends?) was delightful.  Though I would have quoted SIR FABIAN’S ORACLE myself.  That’s half the fun of a good Listener crossword – it introduces you to things you might never otherwise have happened upon – a bit like a really good book group does.

I could see that the second diagonal looked very like (what was to me) an uncommon word.  At first sight it looked as if it could readily have contained an O or an A in the centre and the BRB confirmed numerous options were possible, though with only two of them ending -ise.  I’d suspected the Title from the beginning as being part of an augmented anagram and so it proved.  The two As in Rabelais, plus the whole anagram being of RABELAIS GOT ME, meant that the middle letter had to be an A and all was sorted as METAGRABOLISE.  I think.

But was there something more hiding here?  Was this anagram really a reference to Henry Louis Mencken, the so-called BALTIMORE SAGE?  Was there a hidden insult, given MISERABLE GOAT is there?  Or was it a reference to Towser’s analysis of a recent LWO problem, I BLAME STORAGE?  Er…no, no & no again.

I think.

cheers all,

Tim / Encota




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