Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword. I’m writing this on the 5th of July (I may finish it up on the 6th) so you can probably guess my state (though I blogged a tricky Daily Times this morning too). I’m going to use up my quota of parentheses before we get on to the real stuff, like plugging that I’m doing comedy shows in Columbus Ohio (July 16-18) and Chicago Illinois (August 9). If those are cities you’ve always wanted to visit, round out your trip by seeing me make jokes that are usually not about crosswords.
New setter or newdonym this week – Ben Trovato. With apologies to Ben, it sounds like the name of a bad guy in a low-budget New Jersey mobster film. Let’s see what we have here – across entries thematic, some unclued ones – down answers are normal, and there’s something that needs to be found by thematic reading of the clues.
OK, when something’s hidden in the clues we’re often in acrostic territory – nothing in the first letter of the clues, but looky there in the last letters of clues – HEH, VAV, TETH… we’ve seen that before in “The Brewers Ingredients” – that Hebrew alphabet at the back of the dictionary.
Could I have cracked this before solving a single clue? Let’s solve a single clue… I started with the downs, since they were normal and to be entered normally – there is a 1 down, but I couldn’t see it straight off. Actually I didn’t get a start until HIFIS, EFTS, AIL,URO,PHIL,I,A and STAND. Well none of the Hebrew letters fit H-E-AS – but SAMEKH would if it went backwards. so would T(INF)OIL in the row below. Aha!
Since I was only looking for real words, reversed words and Hebrew letters running backwards, the rest of the grid came together pretty quickly. It was the California corner of the grid that gave me the most problem, I think it was placing the Hebrew letters that helped TENTH and TIGEREYE to appear (must file in memory that use of TIGER since it’s come up a bunch of times).
Full grid and my unaccounted-for Hebrew letters were BETH, MEM, NUN, and AYIN. Not sure if it was deliberate to put two that are the same reversed in the grid, but NUN and MEM were there, leaving BETH and AYIN as the two to enter below. A rare Friday night solve, and this was in the mail on Saturday (my downtown post office is open until 1 on Saturday, and there’s a rather good Vietnamese food stand next door on weekends).
2012 tally: 20-0-4
Feel free to give me a lesson on not understanding the title, and see you next week when Hotspur makes us do his sums.