Your check is in the mate

Welcome back to George vs the Listener.  I’ve got a show in about 30 minutes, so this will be a rapidish write-up but hopefully we can all have a laugh.

Aaaah, Sabre – veteran of at least 61 Listeners, and occasional reader of this little blog (Hi Sabre) and a setter with whom I struggle mightily.  Let’s recap – Pangrams – yes, Whirly-Birly – yes, Au contraire – kind of, Lip Service – not even close.  Hmmm… there’s a 6×6 bit in the middle with no gridlines.  Normal clues (yay), but once a word enters the fobidden zone it goes bouncy bouncy bouncy like a knight until it stops.

Personal to whoever invented chess – really?  I can imagine castles sliding, priests going in wonky directions, overstuffed kings barely moving (except to hide behind a castle, the only thing that can conceal their fat arses), and queens flitting in every which direction while pawns are destined to trudge one step forward, but how did you get it in your head that knights do this big leap with a sidestep?  Are these ballet knights?

Actually I got off to a really good start here, with KING,C,UPS and MOCH(a) taking up the first row, and I had the whole left side of the puzzle, up until letters entered THE ZONE OF KNIGHTDOOM.  This was the first of many snags – is it Thunderdome?  Once you enter, can you leave?  Because if you can, then JANGLE just backs up on itself.  So much for checking letters?

Either I’m getting used to them, or the clues were tame by Sabre standards.  By the end of my second solving session, I had all of the left and top side, most of the bottom (though I’m not sure about DONNA at 42 across) and a few of the ones jutting into THE REALM OF KNIGHTS.  I can’t figure out 30 or 26.

That’s a lot of blank squares and no real good place to start.  D,I,NOT HERE if it stays in the MIDRIFF OF THE ROUND TABLE would be a good one to check some letters, but there’s five possibilities for that I making more than five possibilities for the N.

And that, ladies and gentlemen was about all time and patience could afford.  Sorry, Sabre, those jumping words got to me and I could not get anywhere near a finish on this one.  Behold the grid of patheticness…

My grid for Listener 4140, Jumping to Conclusions by Sabre

Kind of like a doughnut it's empty inside

If we call Au Contraire a draw, then George vs Sabre is back to even stevens, but this one is definitely a Victory for the Knights of the Listener Crossword.

2011 tally:  Listener 6, George 17.  Current streak:  Listener 1.

One of the reasons I didn’t have a lot of time lately was that I’ve been involved in the latest Feral Chihuahuas show, Keywords (about to be taken on the road).  I’ll warn you, this is 20 minutes long and I sing in it, but if you’ve got some time, enjoy the finale of Keywords – The Great Domain Grab of ’97

Feel free to leave comments below, and see you next week where we’ll blaze a trail with Dysart.

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7 Responses

  1. With such a busy life, I can’t say that I was surprised that you did not have the time to complete this one George.  However, I see that you have at least the R of racinos (19) correctly placed in the grid.  Would you say that the term is in widespread use in the US?  Have you ever been to one?

  2. I had never ever heard of it. I think you can see my little scrawl on the bottom left – I figured it had to be an anagram of (R,CASINO) and couldn’t make anything from those letters. Word Wizards gave ROSCIAN and SARONIC. I knew what SARONIC meant and it wasn’t going to be that, I looked up ROSCIAN and that wasn’t helping. It was the WordWeb version of Chambers using the anagram solver without an S (since the answer was probably going to be plural) that gave me RACINOS.
    Not much of a race fan, but a quick google check shows that I’ve actually been to a racino, in Philadelphia. So maybe it is a bigger term than I thought.

  3. George, I’m not surprised you were defeated by this one. I reckon it was in the top 2% of Listeners difficulty-wise! I just wanted to say how impressed I was that you seem to have got DINOTHERE so early – for many (including me) it was the last clue to be solved. And if you haven’t seen it, Sabre has written a setter’s blog at LWO.


    • Thanks, Dave – I think I was one or two solved clues away from getting a start on the middle but I seriously ran out of time.

      I’m surprised at all the kerfluffle over DINOTHERE – the wordplay sticks out that there’s a D and an I at the start which makes DINOsomething a good candidate. Looking for seven letters starting with NO for missing, and NOT HERE came straight away – check that it’s a fossil in Chambers and move on. It was one of the few “middle” clues I solved on a first go.

  4. [...] me to his Sabre blog at his RTC3 site, and if you haven’t popped by recently, have a look at George’s blog as [...]

  5. [...] was only one crossword I flat out gave up on last year, and it was Sabre’s Jumping to Conclusion.  I couldn’t get a handle on all those knight’s moves in the middle.  So as soon as I [...]

  6. […] may have put in an appearance in a clue.  No luck with the previous set of knight’s moves in Jumping to Conclusions, though I did manage to scrape to the end of Pangrams, and Whirly-Birly. A near miss on Au […]

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