Welcome back to George v the Listener Crossword. Every week I’m trying to get a little better at this, and some weeks I succeed. This is going to be one of those posts where I cross my fingers it shows up, I’m on the road again trying the little magic “Publish at a certain time” button. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t that’s the internets for you.
Dysart is back! Making a fourth appearance here – 3966: Mercury’s Whereabouts was in the very beginning days of the blog and I got nowhere on it. Made a much better fist of 4007: Songspiel, but still didn’t get to the conclusion, despite a completed grid. Last year was one of my personal favorites, 4059: Child’s Play, which I did get, and added a little bit of artwork to my grid.
So what have we here – extra letters in wordplay, line from a song, some connection to 1 down. A few clashes, and a transmutation. Looks like all real words in the grid, definitions normal, so hope for some good definitions.
I’ll own up, first solving session was at Starbucks of all places. I printed this out on Friday, but didn’t get a chance to start on it until a hungover Saturday morning when I was in dire need of coffee. Piping hot Americano, a tasteless scone and a quiet table sounded mighty good. And so I went with Dysart’s offering, and since it looks cool to be in corporate coffee stories with dog-eared thick books, Bradfords came along for the ride.
There is a 1 across and thus a 1 across test. And that would be DRIP LEADING becoming LIP READING, an extra D and an instant smile. My boss (who is deaf) is allegedly a really good lip reader, but has troubles with me because apparently I talk funny and deliberately mispronounce words. Maybe it was the throbbing headache, but I was right in tune with Dysart on this one, and the clues started falling steadily. That wordplay was impeccable, and often a lot of fun. By the bottom of the coffee (I was drinking very slowly), I had most of the bottom half filled out, and along with it TREASURE ISLAND forming at the end of the extra letters, and with the top starting DRI, I think we’re looking for DRINK AND THE DEVIL HAD DONE FOR THE REST – FIFTEEN MEN ON A DEAD MAN’S CHEST, to go with LONG JOHN SILVER at 1 down.
There was nothing else to be done – I finished my coffee, went home to Chambers and the computer and resolved that this was going to be a single-session solve, but in two venues. And two hours later, I had scratched together the rest of the answers from the clues, and found the trail. Google pointed me at DERELICT, and it looked like getting rid of the letters from that word left real words in the grid – thought I never did find the second E? I suspect it might be in 33 across being HEY, because I couldn’t figure out the wordplay to 33 across.
The trail of words was a lot harder to find. There’s rather a lot of Fs in the grid. I saw a bunch of Ys and Os on the right hand side and figured that was a good place to work backwards and forwards from. That worked out, I traced forwards to the BOTTLE OF RUM coming in the form of LEFT BOOT, which I guess Silver wouldn’t need, and a trail back to the first F of RAFF as the start of the trail. Here’s what I had at the end of my total three hours or so…
And after tidying it up and removing the clashes (and switching from the blue highlighter to an orange one for no reason).
Avast, shiver me timbers! Here’s a good pirate joke…
What’s a pirates favorite letter of the alphabet?
No, not R, it’s P. It’s like R but it has a leg missing.
That joke is far better said out loud, really.
However, I’m calling this a Victory to George! And I’ve evened the score with Dysart after a shaky beginning. And that was a really awesome puzzle – I loved the meandering thread of the lyric and the rather amusing ending, it looks like a treasure map (originally I was wondering if something needed to be marked with an X as the transformation).
2010 tally: George 21, Listener 3. Current streak: George 3
Yikes – first thing that shows up if you type “refrain” into YouTube is Jose Mari Chan. Here’s a singalong version of “Refrain”.
I messed this one up – no idea where HOOT-HOOT came from, it was obvious there should only be one H in the answer from the wordplay. Rule to be remembered, if I didn’t get the wordplay then there’s probably a mistake and I should get back to it. So well done Dysart, you did get me there.
Updated tally: George 20, Listener 4. Updated streak: Listener 1.
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