What an interesting week it’s been. Looks like last week’s Listener has caused quite a stir, and rather unnecessarily Sabre is defending his crossword on Listen With Others. I just ran out of time on it, and could not finish. I was still staring at it up until the point of writing up this little column. So a week of lows (feeling bad about not finishing) and highs (my first VHC in an Azed comp) and now we’re back to whatever passes for normal around here.
Oh, except for what I usually do for the blog, which is keep a copy of the puzzle as well as my scan. Well it appears that in a fit of green, I recycled Trailblazers and forgot to take a scan of it! So we’re going from memory and there’ll be no pictures of assorted scribble. Sorry about that. Instead, here’s a picture of me pointing in a mirror at Tommy taking a remarkably staged-looking photo of the Feral Chihuahuas during our recent run of “Keywords”.
Now just imagine that with thematic material all over it.
Dysart time! I’ve had mixed luck with Dysart. I thought I had “Refrain” but a wordplay mess-up caused all sorts of problems. Before that was snakes and ladders in “Child’s Play” which was many many degrees of awesome, my mess of Tod Dylan in “Songspiel” and way back in the early days of rarely completing, got nowhere on “Mercury’s Whereabouts“ Wow, Dysart is 3-1 up on me.
Most clues normal, looks like most entries are real words, and there’s some thematic stuff to find and three letters to squeeze in a cell.
It was obvious that the solution of this was to be found in completing the top left of the crossword, so naturally I had all of the bottom half finished before I had more than five or six entries in the top half! I remember doing a bar solve at the start, but getting very little on the top (though the not-in-chambers TEAWARE was one of them).
The four-letter jumble I think was OUP (I’m looking at the puzzle online while I’m writing this) so I had an idea there might be some mistreatment of SOUP going on.
Had to crack that theme… a bit more playing with the top and I saw (s)HAP(e), and at this point entering ??TH???R?WN in Word Wizards did the trick – FATHER BROWN looked promising. I’ve got a brand new Brewers thanks to the Crossword Calendar competition, and it appears FATHER BROWN crossed swords with FLAMBEAU (only words I had on that side at the time were ADAPT and URCHIN). And the first appearance of FATHER BROWN was in THE BLUE CROSS – which looked good since I saw the misprints of L, C and S at this point.
That got me a full grid – and since there’s only 13 pages of THE BLUE CROSS and it’s in the public domain I read it. Well, skimmed it at least, the bits where they’re talking I found kind of dull. VALENTIN is the guy following them which explains what is going on at 18 across, and along the way, Father Brown becomes a right asshole to Flaubert, throwing his SOUP, busting a WINDOW and tipping a cart of APPLES (would have been nice if there was a switch of SALT for PEPPER in the grid). And in the end, this complete dick of a priest pulls the double switcheroonie and gets the BLUE CROSS mailed off.
Well I’ve got a full grid now… and I can’t see any PARCELS or BLUE CROSSES around. There is however an X in POXY, and BLUE running to it in a diagonal.
So the BLUE CROSS in the story was replaced by PAPER and LEAD, though for seven letters I guess that’s PB and PAPER. P, A and P worked for the substitutions of B,L and U, but that E needed to be replaced by something else… and it doesn’t look like a three-letter substitution. So we have the PB in the PAPER for substitution by P,A,P,B,PER to turn POXY into POPERY which is a nice finish.
And I believe we may have halted the slide – I rather liked this one, Dysart, – I learned something new, I read my first (and probably only) Father Brown story – if you want your fix they appear to be all on Project Gutenberg, and I finished this listener.
Victory to George! 2011 tally: George 18, Listener 6. Current streak: George 1.
Feel free to leave comments below, and see you next week when we get all Noye with Samuel. And possibly some Big News. But definitely a scan of the grid!
Filed under: Listener Crosswords