Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – so far so goodish for this year, no empty grids, no complete lacks of understanding, just a few fluffs keeping me from an all-correct. I think this can be done! Now if there was a week that could break it, this was it…
Mostly external stuff – on Friday morning, when the Listener usually appears, I was in San Diego, and working there for a week. Fortunately the hotel had a printer, so problem #1 solved. Where to work on a Listener on a Friday afternoon? The Field had been recommended by a friend and was close by, so off I went.
So I’ve been to fake Irish pubs and faux Irish pubs, but The Field is something else, especially on a mid-Friday afternoon. I could barely understand the guy behind the bar (he told me he’d left Cork 12 years ago – I left Australia almost 20 years ago and sound vaguely Australian now), but there are few communications problems when you want beer and snacks and to be left alone with the crossword. The two guys sitting next to me had a copy of The Times (I thought about asking them for the crossword – I was surprised to see that you could get a Fridays Times the same day in the West Coast of the US), and now I’m all settled.
The grid has an outlet and the bottom three rows have no unches. Thematic treatment, extra words with a description of the scenario. Down clue misprints in definition. There’s a lot here, though it looks like all real words, particularly with the downs.
There is a 1 across and it’s not too difficult – compound anagram of (K,OSWALD MOSLEY) without DOLLYS to get AWSOME. Good start! And it was an excellent start, not just in solving but in drinking and overall enjoyment – I left the pub just in time to make my first meeting with most of the top half of the grid in, and from googling “attenfanger” finding out that we’re in the region of DER RATTENFANGER VON HAMELIN, and my absolute favorite part of this crossword – breaking the message up into partial words that became the extra words of the across clues (though I didn’t have the full message).
Didn’t get a chance for another day or two to get back to this, but it was at another lunch place, this one serving shwarma where the last parts came together – KIND ERA BAN DON HOME SPUR SUING PER FORMER – it’s the German children leaving the across answers – I see EVA from REEL-EVA-TE but where is OTTO from DOUBLE B-OTTO-M? I’d confidently written A,S,TRAY and LI(L)B for 28 and 35. With ANKE from FL-ANKE-RED following, OTTO really has to fit in there – A,B,ROAD and GO(L)P turn out to be the better options. Next problem, what to do with ELSA? Nowhere to fit her in…
D’OH! It’s one of those boustrawhatnow’s that have tripped me up before. Now I think we’re on to something!
Back at the hotel the next night well after midnight I have victory on the last step – MAX and MINIMAX. There’s a string of kids following the PIED PIPER out of there.
The most difficult of the year so far for me, but what a great theme well executed! Ron is either a new setter or a newdonym, but this is a terrific start.
Mailed it the day I got back to Asheville, so I hope it was in time. I’ve just seen the solution (I’m running a little behind schedule today), and looks like I’m A-OK with this one so Victory to George!
2012 tally: 10-0-2
Feel free to comment on my ratty solution, and see you next week when Shark asks us to get the drift of continents.