Welcome back to George v the Listener Crossword, where we are charging towards a big finish for the year. Or not… I seem to recall a big plunge near the end of the year last year. This week, it’s Elgin coming to visit, who we met for the first time with the last Listener of 2008, Without Bars, which according to the Listener site, only had 13 wrong entries, though I didn’t come anywhere near close on. Maybe at that time of year you don’t submit unless you’re in the running?
Exciting preamble – a heist! There’s crime fighters and false trails. Apart from the false trails, all clues would appear to be normal and all answers in the final grid are real words, so there can be fallbacks to checking letters and the like.
We are back in the world of bar-solving for the first few peeks at this one (yay!) though one of them was a rather amusing time, as I went to a brewpub where some co-workers were going to have a discussion I wasn’t to be a part of. My job was to keep one of my co-worker’s husband from being loud and annoying. Still with me? Well he was late to arrive, so I sat at a small table by myself, but next to my co-workers, who said hi to me. The rather snotty staff at this place were insisting that since I was “with” the other table, I should try to squeeze on to their table rather than have my own. I had to protest regularly that there was someone coming to join me in order to keep my little piece of table, even though I was ordering food and drinks, and doing my crossword and not being a part of the table next to me.
Maybe it was this background, but I rather confidently wrote in some extremely wrong, though plausible-sounding at the time, answers – ADRIFT for 10 down, UPSIANIC for 9 down, SPLIT for 13 across,GRIP for 28 across, and ENSILO (which I soon found out was a made-up word) at 38 across. I was wondering why there seemed to be an awful lot more clashes than could be explained by the preamble.
Back home and playing with the full-text search on Chambers (good Chambers), GUJRAT and ANKUS bring the first taste of victory – SPLIT is to be replaced by J-KER which could only be JOKER. Holy partially-filled grid, BATMAN (possibly peeking out at me from 19 across… though that would be another two clashes… hmmm).
OK, it’s not ADRIFT, it’s NATANT and I find OSSIANIC and things are starting to look a little more promising (and BATMAN is still on the table, but no ROBIN or BATWOMAN or even ALFRED or COMMISSIONER GORDON in sight).
Next hint is that the Florida part of my grid is a mess! Even before fixing the GRIP issue, there’s no word that’s going to fit into 20 down with the pattern GA-II-YL, especially with the wordplay, which looks like it’s heading towards EMMENTAL. So it looks like 20 is a candidate for replacement.
OH!! 13 was looking like GOUDA. Batman’s nemesissies wouldn’t be after cheese, but it’s starting to sound suspiciously like the plot of “The Wrong Trousers”. Wow, I have that on VHS somewhere stashed away in Australia.
WALLACE would go down the bottom, the culprit was a PENGUIN (sometimes disguised as a chicken) and we’ve also got the RIDDLER replacing cheeses. A grid is forming!
So now GAAMIUYL needs to be replaced by TROUSERS… that won’t make real words (but will make BATMAN!). They are the wrong trousers, though – the E finishes WALLACE, and there’s GROMIT on a diagonal if we put the O in the second place. Time to find where the rest of the letters fit in.
Looks like a grid to me. Wow – a crossword based on an animated film (it did win an Academy award – Nick Park owned that category for a while) that wasn’t a book, and I don’t think is in the ODQ or Brewers. And one I know… could the puzzle based on Discworld or the Mighty Boosh be far behind?
Victory to George in what was a tough start, but a really fun finish. And I’ve equalled my tally from last year, woohoo!
2010 tally: George 33, Listener 7. Current streak, George 3.
Another Azed cluing competition has come and gone and I am still dwelling in the basement. Looking over the winning clues, it appears I made a critical mistake by not referencing Azed or his 2000 puzzle achievement in my clue. I thought it was pretty good, myself.
Drink outside with dog around South Australia at the start of the new millenium (debatable). (3,8)
Maybe next month…
Feel free to leave comments below, and see you next week when Spud sends us revolving around Europe.
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