Welcome back to George vs the Listener. So far so good for this year (keeping the fingers crossed). The new approach of jumping on these things early, along with the wonderful rapid turnaround of Chambers 12th edition being added to wordweb, so I have it on my laptop has worked wonders. It will be put to the challenge this week, as I am out of town until Thursday. I saw a printer in the hotel lobby, and when the new Listener appears in about 20 minutes time, I’ll be checking out that spot and the coffee place I saw on the next corner. The Listener appears at 8am US West Coast time, so not quite time for beer (unless someone is serving – the hotel bar closed at midnight, maybe they compensate by being open at 8?).
Augeas this week – the first Augeas Listener last year had us hunting and pecking for hunters and peckers, and I remember the end of it taking a long time. This time we have 42 clashes in a 12X12 grid (that’s a lot of clashes), between letters in a group. That’s a lot of clashes! Wordplay leads to answers without clashes. OK… well I guess apart from clashes there’s real words in the grid, right?
There is a 1 across, but it was not one I could get at a first reading. Something twigged with 9 across – a HACEK is a mark with C in it, and a check of Chambers gives the House of Keys, so we’re away and with two clashes. This means 2 down is missing at least the second letter, and it is – HP sauce leads to HOPE (I’ve not usually associated the two), and another clash found.
I figured there might be something more complicated about the set and wrote the alphabet above the grid, assuming that letters that weren’t part of the set wouldn’t be clashes (double negative logic!). I probably didn’t need to do that, since it looked pretty clear after finding another four or five clashes, that it’s vowels.
That must have been a challenge, writing clues with practically no vowels. It meant a pretty high reliance on abbreviations, and Latin ones at that (LC, our old friend SC for scilicet, BV for Blessed Virgin). It did take me two sessions to get through all of the clues, and strangely enough the two long ones with lots of clashes were my last two in. But eventually I had a grid!
Not done yet though – there’s still a theme to find. I can see the letters of VOWEL in the title, that looks promising, and THE… if you can read my scribble there, GREAT should have jumped out at me, it took a while to see THE GREAT VOWEL, and a little Googling informs me of THE GREAT VOWEL SHIFT. Aha! That must be it, works with the title. Ignoramus that I am, it was news to me.
I believe with that we are totally done. I had to make a table of the vowel-to-vowel substitutions and I hope I didn’t make any transcription errors, but this was finished on Saturday night and in the post on Monday.
I bet Augeas had a laugh writing those clues – having to clue GOODY-GOODY as GDYGDY is no easy task (so G’DY to you Augeas).
So I believe we have a Victory to George, woohoo! Two solving sessions, so on the easierish side, but a lot of fun and some great wordplay in the clues. This is a pretty awesome start to the year, hopefully this won’t be the week it comes crashing down. Where’s that printer?
2012 tally: 8-0-1
Feel free to comment below about solves or awful jokes, and see you next week when Merlin makes me fear chess.