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Ether Street / The NI Crossword

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The spirit Nil has been regaling listeners with tall tales and weak repartee gleaned from a thousand incarnations. But the audience is getting restive...

Can we ask you a question?

You’ve never been backward in coming forward before.

This notion of reincarnation is pretty hard to accept. It’s as if the most important element in a person is a spark of spirit that has dipped in and out of earth over the millennia. Yet isn’t it obvious how much a person is shaped by their economic and cultural inheritance – not to mention their genetic pattern?

What’s a DNA code but a print-out from the breath of the universal computer? A current example might be the new US President George W Bush.

That just shows how weak this
reincarnation idea is – a father hands on dynastic political power to his son in a nation that’s supposed to have anti-monarchism ingrained in its soul.

You could look at it like that. But on the other hand try looking at it this way. Here’s a boy who has every advantage: born into what is effectively the American aristocracy, he’s given an easy way out of getting killed in Vietnam and benefits from the most expensive private education with access to the vast heritage of human wisdom, learning and insight. And what does he end up as?

The most powerful man in the world.

Technically, yes. But what I meant is that he ends up as a guy whose natural milieu is a redneck bar somewhere in Texas, who thinks Cape Verde is bench coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

But that’s been his passport to success. Americans seem to feel at ease with someone like that in the White House.

Nevertheless, he’s been utterly impervious to education. And why? Because the spirit squeezed into that physical shell was of a particularly nasty, narrow-minded kind.

'Wrong hat, Georgie-boy...'

You mean you have access to the records of George W Bush’s previous incarnations?

I do but I think it would be unethical to reveal them to you.

Oh go on, don’t be so coy. This could be dynamite. It could make the fixing of the election in Florida look like a little local difficulty.

Which is exactly why I’m not going to give you more than the vaguest of clues. George W was born in July 1946 and his guiding spirit had only a few months to wait between incarnations.

So nine months back and counting... We’re talking 1945, aren’t we? End of the War. Wait a minute. This previous incarnation wouldn’t have ended in a bunker in Berlin, would it?

No. But you’re not so far away. Think of a neighbouring megalomaniac with rather more of a taste for the good life than Adolf.

His first name wouldn’t be Benito?!

I couldn’t possibly comment.

Next month: The last hurrah. As the long night ends, Nil reveals the truth about life, the universe and everything.

The NI Crossword
No 52 by Axe

Crossword no.52

1 Middle Eastern character moves from saltwater line, disabling reservoir link (8,4)
9 In vessel with sci-fi writer, trapped somewhere north of Aberdeen (9)
10 Band of hope in the desert? (5)
11 The old city, metal-clad, of the Piedmont... (5)
12 ...and the lively metropolis of the Black Hills... (5,4)
13 ...a sanctuary to Apollo and it’s integral to London’s literary past (7)
15 First Italian writer to retire around lake and earn caviar supplement (5)
17 Part of Siberia is in the real taiga hinterland (5)
19 Little old English county’s dock on the Channel (7)
22 Girl who contributed to a fire in Rouen? (4,2,3)
25 Scoffed when Georgia went in for chalcedony (5)
26 Area eastern and western states pursue for Chilean city (5)
27 You are rumoured to hire Pole, trying to be someone who likes him, perhaps (9)
28 Barbie’s on, workers in South Africa getting the Californian scene (5,7)

1 A good chap in the Copacabana district, maybe, but a shorty, haughty type (6)
2 In sound in Greece? (7)
3 Green tiers out of place here, where animals roam (9)
4 A middle-English queen and ruler (5)
5 Indicate to Indian country, heading for the military school (4,5)
6 He took a risk drinking coffee in London? (5)
7 Like similar elements, this bit of Italy... (6)
8 ...is like a Middle Eastern country, one of the past (7)
14 Even on Royal and Ancient’s openers on weekend, and tee off for a birdie (9)
15 City of Rajasthan, as Indians call their country, almost perfect (9)
16 Unusually, US/Japan quietly falling out when number exchanged for place in Puerto Rico (3,4)
18 Muse over Martha; liaison inferred (6)
20 King in another amateur old Indian part (7)
21 Spanish payment for green crop’s about ready (6)
23 Japanese city’s very big, and also known as being in the prime site (5)
24 People of the sea cut out this vegetable (5)

1 Boring put into an aquifer (8,4)
9 Administrative centre for the Scottish Highland region (9)
10 Fertile spot (5)
11 Italian city, capital of the kingdom of Sardinia from 1720 (5)
12 S Dakota city of the gold rush, now a base for Mt Rushmore (5,4)
13 London theatre, and a former literary district between the Strand and the Thames (7)
15 Russian buckwheat pancake (5)
17 Russian region of Siberia, capital, Barnaul (5)
19 Former county of England (7)
22 The Maid of Orleans (4,2,3)
25 Banded chalcedony (5)
26 Seaport of N Chile (5)
27 One who wants greater integration after the Treaty of Rome (9)
28 Industrial university town NW of Los Angeles (5,7)

1 Abbreviated title, in more ways than one (6)
2 Greek bar/restaurant (7)
3 Animal reserve of Tanzania and Kenya (9)
4 Muslim prince (5)
5 US military academy on the Hudson River (4,5)
6 Edward ——-, pioneer of shipping intelligence in 17th-century London (5)
7 Umbrian town, the home of 12th-13th century saint (6)
8 Biblical country, now part of N Iraq (7)
14 Colourful, long-tailed bird of the tropics (9)
15 Industrial city of Rajasthan, formerly capital of a province of the same name (9)
16 Capital of Puerto Rico (3,4)
18 Muse who presided over comic and pastoral poetry: also one of the Three Graces (6)
20 Former region of S India (7)
21 European currency, now tied to the Euro (6)
23 Japan’s third city (5)
24 Pre-Columbian native American of the Lesser Antilles (5)

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Solution to no.51

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