Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword. I’m going to be home for the next few weeks so the randomness and chaos may or may not cease. It’s Dysart this week! Last Dysart around was the Father Brown themed Trailblazers which I got to the end of, but struggled along the way. Before that came Refrain, where I messed up on one lousy clue. Child’s play which was one of my favorites ever with the snakes and ladders, Songspiel where I messed up the thematic stuff and as for Mercury’s Whereabouts, the less said the better. So it seems with Dysart my usual method is to get close, but falter at the end.
Well this crossword was stared in a completely different pub to where I usually try these – not sure if I should solve there, since it’s where I was when I tried to make the paper cranes a few years ago in another disaster. It was late and I was tired, hungry and horribly sober, so perfect opportunity to get going on this. What have we here… a 14×14 grid (which for some reason looks huge on my paper… I guess that’s a bit bigger than most barred grids), but all clues are normal, all answers appear to be real words, there’s a lot of things hidden in the grid, and something to be erased.
Well with a big grid might as well get filling and worry about the details later, as my dentist always said!
There is a 1 across and it’s a relatively gentle R in SKID reversed for DIRKS and we are underway! Have to say, for a big grid, it filled pretty quickly. Seems with Dysart’s clues I’m usually on the right wavelength – all but the bottom left side of the grid were finished before two pints were empty.
Couldn’t crack that California corner – so back home it’s time to look for authors, books and places of birth. First thing I saw OAK hidden on the fifth line. Wasn’t Hemingway born in OAK somewhere? OAK PARK. Hmmm… no PARK anywhere, nor any remnants of Hemingway. Aren’t we due for a Hemingway puzzle? We haven’t had one in months.
AHA! In the third column from the right, there’s AUNT MAY. That’s got to be something. It could be an anagram of MY AUNT and we’re looking for Graham Greene. Where was he born? BERKHAMSTEAD. I think I would have noticed BERKHAMSTEAD in there.
It’s a 14×14 grid. Don’t see that very often, maybe there’s something 14 letters long. Who is lurking on diagonals. DREENVSETFROLS, that’s nothing forwards or backwards HARUKI?URAK???
HARUKI sounds Japanese. And like a child with a “Where’s Wally Book” – I was GOT YOU!!! HARUKI MURAKAMI and some very helpful letters to get me started again on the bottom right hand corner. He was born in KYOTO which is up there, and one of his books was NORWEGIAN WOOD so that OAK wasn’t a useless find.
It was funny – working out that bottom corner, FRANZ KAFKA loomed into view… but at that point I knew that Murakami wrote “Kafka on the Shore” which is there, and had won the Franz Kafka prize. May have dodged a bullet there!
Two more to find – there’s a short story collection called “The Disappearing Elephant” – so that takes care of JUMBO
Quick digression – I hope his books are more interesting than his Wikipedia page makes them out to be – I’ve noted him down as someone to check out, obviously Dysart is a fan. I’m still trying to wade my way through “The Sot Weed Factor” by John Barth. I wonder if there’ll ever be a Barth Listener. Might have to get on to filling a grid with “Floating Opera” miscellany.
That leaves me with a three-word title to find. We’re left with “Dance, Dance, Dance”. I guess that must be REELS, but it seems strange to “hide” it as an actual clue answer – although the clue itself doesn’t use the dance definition at all.
Only one clue number must be entered?
There’s a book called “South of the Border, West of the Sun”. Can’t find any words for BORDER or SUN in the grid. Hmm…
There’s another called “After Dark”… is there an answer that starts after a clue for dark? Nope…
OK Dysart – this is where I am often felled – am I going to be done in by that one little last thematic part? Again!
I keep coming back to a book called 1Q84. There’s no 84. It doesn’t seem that likely that we’re just to put in a 1 based on it being the first character of a book title.
I was about to pack it in – I did, literally pack it in – I had to go perform at a festival in Wilmington and was hoping to have this mailed in before I left, but there was the matter of a clue number to be added.
Maybe this would be a good plot for a Murakami novel – a comedian, in a hotel room, alone at night, looking for the deeper meaning in a crossword grid.
This book 1Q84 – it’s like 1984, because the symbols for 9 and Q look similar. So does a 9 and a lowercase q.
Is that it?
Nothing else better seems to come to mind. So in it went with a 9-ish-q or a q-ish-9 dropped in. There wasn’t much room in the grid to write it, so I scrawled a note next to the puzzle about how I’m trying to put a 9 in there and it might not look correct. It might not even be correct, but I think I’ve got it.
The puzzle was in the mail on the Saturday after the grid came out, so I might be pushing it for postage, but we’ll see.
I also realise that my scanned grid is saved elsewhere, so I’ll add it to this post this afternoon. It’s worth seeing for the amount of scribble and scrawl. But I’m going to claim this as a Victory to George (the solution should be out now so I’ll check in a few minutes).
That was fun, Dysart, though very very head-scratching at the end. I hope I’ve got it.
Well, before I hit submit, I checked – I’m wrong. It’s meant to be a 3 at the top of REELS to have it make complete sense.
Dysart, you have thwarted me again! Though I still like my solution.
2012 tally: 14-0-3
Feel free to mock my lack of threeness, and see you next week when Rasputin promises to be the antithesis of my dentist.
As promised – here’s the grid…
Filed under: Listener Crosswords