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Ether Street / NI Crossword

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Previously on Ether Street... Three NI readers have contacted an irascible ghost called Nil who claims to have been intimate with Lenin.

Don't give us this. How come everyone who 'discovers' they had a past life was always famous enough to appear in the history books: they were Mary Queen of Scots, or Crazy Horse, or they went down on the Titanic. They're never just Abdul Salim, who lived and died in obscurity upstairs from the shoemaker in twelfth-century Baghdad...

Oh you knew Abdul too, did you? Of course I've had plenty of lives that were unremarkable to all but me. I've fished in the Andaman Sea; I've been a child that died of cholera in Lahore during the British Raj; I've loved and lost more men and women than you would wish to hear about who were all the world to me at the time.

Okay, cut the schmaltz. Maybe you had better stick to people we've heard of, after all.

You see? I give you the bold bread of my lives and you just want circuses.

No, we want meaning, some insight that will prove useful in our own lives. That's what other people get from the spirit world, so why shouldn't we?

Why not indeed? I presume you're thinking along the lines of who's going to win the 3.15 horse race at Uttoxeter next Friday.

Nothing so crass and material.

Maybe it's the spiritual you're after. I do a good line in Upanishads.


The Upanishads. One of the key Hindu texts from 2,700 years ago. Seems like only yesterday we were brainstorming for it, yet people all over the world are still reading or speaking the words every day: 'It is not knowing. It is not unknowing. Nor is it knowingness itself. It can neither be seen nor understood... It is known only through becoming it.'

Just what we wanted: 'something that can't be understood'.

Some people are never satisfied: one of the greatest spiritual insights humanity has come up with, and you give it two out of ten for technical merit.

We were thinking more along the lines of something that would be politically useful, that would let us out of the Clinton/Blair/Schroder

You don't mean you cast doubt upon the Truth, the Light and the Way?!

Surely you see that transnational corporations have simply got on with the business of wealth creation while you whingers on the fringes tie yourselves up in ethical knots. They saw the Earth franchise was up for grabs...

Someone who took part in the Russian Revolution can't really believe this garbage.

Why not? Bill Clinton once was sensible enough to dodge the draft and sample the odd mindblowing substance and he now believes this garbage. Tony Blair believes it too and even he did once have a socialist idea in his head... No, on second thoughts, maybe that's going too far.

You said before that you could offer package tours to people's brains for the more intrepid spirits. Does that mean you have actually been inside Bill Clinton's head?

Don't even ask me.

Why, what was it like? Come on, don't be a tease.

Funnily enough, that's one of his favourite lines when a new intern looms into view. Actually Clinton has a design fault which has left him with only three basic thoughts: 'I'm gorgeous'; 'You're gorgeous'; and 'God Bless America'. The rumour up here is that Bill's next incarnation is already waiting for him in a radiation-ravaged village in rural Iraq.

Next month: Nil muses on Henry Ford's karma and the futility of war.

Illustration: Brick

The NI Crossword
No 44 by Axe

Crossword no.44

 1 North Dakota's German leader? (8)
5 August turns bad and shelters in East Africa (6)
9 Madame, little changed, attended foreign bash I gate-crashed in 1d, perhaps (8)
10 Has popular Nicaraguan plant got healing qualities? (6)
12 Arkansas Retirement Society gets a French Centre (5)
13 Ancient temple in Java is in Urdu or Bob's mistaken (9)
14 Character from Disney World burying head in a street map, back in part of Savannah? (6)
16 Sri Lankan base for old lieutenant (7)
19 Blessing for the Jewish folk dusk hid manoeuvre (7)
21 Queensland site's stop-start finish confuses CIA and the Navy (6)
23 City byways are clogged up with middlemen during the mornings (9)
25 Disciple of Chelsea when London region's away (5)
26 25 inside, under the weather here on the Nile (6)
27 State one negative: sounds silly when turned back on itself (8)
28 Clods, an unknown and indefinite number, sitting in councils... (6)
29 ...they're in Cloud Cuckoo Land out in Spain, all warped (8)  

 1 Cinema flop a year for India's Bollywood headquarters (6)
2 3 get lost about a mile above, and discover ancient Asian city... (9)
3 ...and 'The Garden of Eden' perhaps, with Egyptian god in over-the-top reggae-like dance (5)
4 I'm Zico. I'm Brazilian and am at home here, where they speak Portuguese... (7)
6 ...I'm Giuseppe. I'm Italian, or will be once Sicily is united! (9)
7 Nymph, not initially one in self-help group, died (5)
8 No arcane translation for this ribald poet of old (8)
11 Rhode Island claimed by Europeans: Viking, actually (4)
15 French street where petang is played singly against another street (9)
17 Number in collieries get occupational therapy, a requirement of this state? (9)
18 Number in 3's dance on Thomas Island in Greece (8)
20 Jihad junket includes Mecca pilgrimage (4)
21 Many arrived on Arthur's Seat (7)
22 Drink system of units taken from Italian city, under copyright (6)
24 No Spanish, the backward old sage... (5)
25 ...get him into Communist Party - and ape with intelligence! (5)

 1 First Chancellor of the Second Reich? (8)
5 African country, capital Kampala (6)
9 Address for a European married woman in colonial India (8)
10 Tincture of mountain tobacco, good for bruises, etc (6)
12 French city, capital of the Pas-de-Calais department (5)
13 Javanese Buddhist monument, c800 AD, restored only in the 20th century (9)
14 The former Northern Rhodesia (6)
16 Sri Lankan capital, of Portuguese origin (7)
19 Jewish blessing with bread and wine on holy days (7)
21 Resort town of Queensland, Australia (6)
23 Western European city, a major diamond centre (9)
25 Buddhist novice; prehensile claw of arthropods (5)
26 Egyptian industrial city, SE of Cairo (6)
27 21st State of the Union, 1818, capital, Springfield (8)
28 Ecclesiastical councils (6)
29 Inhabitants of a world imagined by Sir Thomas More (8)

1 India's foremost port and second-largest city (6)
2 Ancient Uzbek city, destroyed progressively by Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan (9)
3 River valley of Turkey claimed to be 'The Garden of Eden' (5)
4 Portuguese cathedral city with university origins going back to 1290 (7)
6 Major figure of the Risorgimento, b Nice, 1807 (9)
7 Spring nymph; dragonfly larva (5)
8 Greek lyric poet, whose subjects of love and wine gave rise to verse forms in his name (8)
11 Anglicized name of florid Norse navigator who discovered Greenland (4)
15 Broad walk; promenade (French) (9)
17 32nd State of the Union, capital, St Paul (9)
18 Greek island of the N Sporades, closest to the Thessaly coast (8)
20 Moslem pilgrimage to Mecca (4)
21 Historians have variously ascribed Tintagel or Cadbury in SW England to this 'mythical' site (7)
22 Syrupy blackcurrant cordial (6)
24 Athenian statesman, one of the 'Wise men of Greece' (5)
25 Pan troglodytes, popularly called (5)

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