Welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword, today coming to you from Washington DC. Unfortunately before I left I forgot to scan my grid. So if you’re a fan of looking at cryptic scribble, you’ll have to wait until next week.
Tangram time! We had a Tangram Listener last year with a Shelley theme, and it was a struggle but I got there. Let’s see what we’ve got here – Letters Latent again! Wordplay is the LL version, and there’s a message that helps us complete the centre cell – in a homologous fashion? Time for that chemistry degree to come into play – homologous means not the same, but formed in the same way.
Well away we go – there is a 1 across, but nothing came to mind. Actually nothing came to mind until CATCHINESS – giving an extra H and somewhere to get started with. It crosses five down entries, you’d think I’d have to get one of those, right? Think again – no luck with any of the crossers and it was back to the cold-solving drawing board.
Finally started to build up the grid in Florida corner, with UNHEARSING, TREENAIL and REGIN getting me going.
This wound to a close pretty quickly – I was dead stuck with only a dozen or so entries, mostly clustered in the bottom right. This was a war of attrition – a few times a day I’d come back to a clue or two to try and piece together something. I was not on Tangram’s wavelength at all for these clues.
Eventually I could piece together -OONLI-D-OR and a search on MOONLIT DOOR shows a poem called “The Listeners” – which sounds very promising. At the start the message could be WHICH POEM – but the middle of the message is escaping me.
I was starting to get nervous as I got close to the weekend and still had a bunch of gaps in the grid and in the message…
First mini-breakthrough was realising 14 was PUNGA(INLY) and not some form of PONGA – that got me EMPUS as 1 down and suggested FEATURED as one of the middle words in the message. Still a mess in the middle of the message, but I’m getting closer.
It wasn’t until getting CENTURY that I figured the clues were deliberately obscure to get snooker references in. I figured the crossword wouldn’t have anything to do with snooker, but didn’t realise the clues did. Finally – DEFFLY later, I have a full grid! I can see THE ISTENERS in one column, so that means an L goes into the centre cell showing that the title is an L away from CLUEMASTERS. Last thing to find was the end of the message – ahhh – it’s AGED 100. Might have solved this easier if I’d spotted that, and “The Listeners” is from 1912.
This wasn’t in the mail until Tuesday a week after it came out, so I hope I made the deadline. A mighty struggle, but I think I’ve got it all so I’ll claim this a Victory to George (I’ll check the solution later on Friday).
2012 tally (tentative) 14-0-2
In lieu of a scan – today I went to the Old Post Office Tower in Washtington DC. There’s a set of bells in there that are the constitutional bells, apparently made by the same outfit as the Westerminster Abbey bells. At the top of them is a guide, telling people how bell changes work – couldn’t resist snapping a picture – now just watch this being karma coming to bite me on the bum and there’ll be a bell changing puzzle soon!
Feel free to ring my bells and see you next week when Dysart teases us with prizes galore!