Welcome back to George vs the Listener. No promises, but things may have calmed down a little here at George V Listener central – I do have a scan this week for those of you who enjoy margin scrawling and poor handwriting.
This week we’ve got Nudd who is a new setter or a newdonym, so hi Nudd if you’re looking in. And I was under the hammer, since I didn’t get to print this out until after I wrote last week’s entry, so I was down to about six days to try to squeeze out a total. We’ve got three different types of clues – misprints, side-by-sides and normals, and some treatment of the side by sides, so presumably normals and misprints can go straight in to the grid and we’ll see where that leads.
There is a 1 across, and I couldn’t solve it initially, but that MORSE on the end is kind of screaming “hey, I’m a misprint – how about a MOUSE, HORSE, or MOOSE”. Having had no luck with the first three across clues (though the next two looked like side-by-sides, probably some from of COLDB— in the first half of 4), I went to the opposite tactic and worked from the bottom up.
Instant rewards! 34 down is definitely URSA, and we’re away. It crosses SUBLATED/DEMIREPS (hey, an anagram by anagram clue), ESCALATE/ETALAGES and a normal clue for UNDERARM and we’re business now.
So the grid filled from the bottom up… I could see that one first half of each of the double clues seemed to fit the first half of the answer, but nothing matched the last half of the answer. With most of the normal clues in place, and LOFTING found from the miprints, I saw that 33 across could be SUBLIMED made by taking the DEMI from the other half of the clue and reversing it… that works for NOSEDIVE and DECEASES and it looks like we’ve cracked the code. Lofting half of the words?
Poking through the rest of these I hit another snag. I had LOFTING ANIMAL, and most of the answers, but I’m still lost on 1 across, 3 down and 28 down, and I’m short one misprint. Hmmm… and why ANIMAL?
There is something to be highlighted… nothing was appearing directly in the grid, so time to take a peek at the diagonals. PUSHMIPULLYU! Oh… a Doctor Doolittle reference! So it’s H LOFTING ANIMAL and that was a HORSE in 1 across making it a rather simple A, then BAR reversed. Idiot.
By the way, did anyone ever figure out how the digestive system of the PUSH-MI-PULL-YU worked? Did it come back out of the other head’s mouth or was there some sort of bum in the middle? Or mabye it only lived until its internal organs became aseptic. Hugh Lofting, you’re a creepy individual!
That leaves me with two unchecked squares… everything in the grid so far is a word, and Chambers leaves me with no option other than BEDRID for 3 down. No idea how, and if my counting is right that’s meant to be a normal clue? 28 down is still a poser. I have DEGAGE as one half, that means I need a word that first -OD— for the other half of the clue, and according to Chambers that first letter could be a B a D or an L – though HODGE is given as a rustic (so is BOD). I can’t make anything fit the rest of the clue… so I’m going to go with a B and keep my fingers crossed.
I liked the technique with the side-by-side clues, though it might be my downfall in the end, and I think it’s funny I never looked up Lofting to see if it meant anything other than making first halves of words rise).
Tentatively I’m going to call this a Victory to George! I can’t be off by more than two letters, surely?
2011 tally: George 15, Listener 4. Current streak George 4
Feel free to leave comments below, and see you next week when we try to bring Catherine out of her shell with Ifor.