Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, your weekly home for unqualified musings and ramblings. It’s a happy time of the year here, this upcoming week is Asheville Beer Week, which means I should probably try solving today’s Listener today, as my lucid moments will be few and far between.
Nutmeg time! We last saw nutmeg late last year with a fairly gentle take on the “Grand old Duke of York” in A Noted Performance, a visit to the Hundred-Acre wood in An Unsettled Spell (both of which I finished) and words that have different meanings in French and English in Franglais (nearly got it). So I’m thinking I may have Nutmeg’s number – let’s find out.
Ten entries need alteration, wordplay contains extra letters, and a phrase hidden in the grid. Okeydokey…
There is a 1 across and the wordplay looks like IONAM – check of Google and IONA works as where Columbus landed, so that’s a pass on the 1 across test and the message begins with M. That crosses what looks like OMB,RAH – Chambers this time to find OMRAH, and one I can solve without diving straight into aids – NEONATAL with an extra Y in the anagram. 4 down looks like it should be an anagram of NOHELP inside something, but that won’t fit in the space. Hmmm… Bradfords has ANOPHELINE which could be the anagram of NO HELP in A FINE giving an extra F. So I’ve got to take some letters out of that one.
OMELET, CANNAE and SENATES later something is emerging – that main diagonal could read I’M ON T??????? – probably I’M ON THE something with 5 letters. Phone maybe? Working my way down to the bottom right of the grid, it’s not phone, but ARDEA, BIRDCALL and JAGIR make I’M ON THE TRAIN a likely candidate.
I only had two of the answers to be modified – ANOPHELINE and COPENHAGEN, and all but one letter checked in ANOPHELINE – looks like NOPHE has to be removed. ARSENAL suggested OPENH has to be removed from COPENHAGEN… aaaaaah! Funny I thought phone earlier – it’s anagrams of PHONE that have to be removed!
If that’s true, 16 across is probably an anagram of a compound + PHONE + another letter – THIOPHENES! Aha!
So now it should be a pretty easy crawl to the finish – I believe at that point I’d solved all but about 8 clues, and most of the rest of them needed extra PHONES in them – I had to go to Word Matcher and put PHONE + the letters I knew in to get NEPHOLOGY and STANHOPE PRESS, but eventually I had a complete grid.
Those extra letters weren’t a lot of help in solving as I went along, but I wondered what their significance was – took a bit more googlyling to hunt down that someone actually composed that annoying ringtone! Yikes!
I’m a little slow in posting this, so I think I can claim a Victory to George, and a rather fun puzzle, Nutmeg. 2013 tally: 13-3-2
Feel free to tell me that people do say that on trains, and I’ll see you next week when Ifor has a puzzle presumably about jumping rope.