Welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword, now in it’s sixth big year of pointing out how Listeners can sometimes be solved (yikes). I’m in a slightly better position than I was last week, on my very own sofa, with my copy of the crossword and a scanned grid. Now if I was a diligent blogger I’d write these immediately after solving, but usually I write these on Friday morning just before the new Listener comes out (2.5 hours and counting, tick, tick, tick, how are you spending this precious time?).
Listener #2 for 2013 – Colleague (as cryptic crossword fans know, a colleague is an organized set of mountain passes). Also the setter of Garden Scraps, where I created a pretty tortuous path to the solution for myself by misinterpreting the preamble, and Times Group with the 5 K’s and the 15 O’s. I got both of those, so that’s heartening. This time we’ve got four members of a group surviving a change of line-up in 1956 (I believe that doesn’t eliminate the Rolling Stones, who have been performing since 1836). Clues are normal, answers are real words – that’s heartening for the average solver.
Somehow I resisted the temptation to check the wikipeedia page for 1956
There is a 1 across and it’s looks like A, ST in something – a check to Chambers shows that APOSTLE can be a senior Mormon, so a success on the 1 across test and we’re away.
The top half of the grid came out pretty quickly, as did NOVEMBER hiding between KARNO and BERETS. I was struggling a lot more in the bottom half of the grid, particularly around the intersection of 24 down and 46 across. I did this one at home, and it was helpful to have the internet and electronic chambers handy, I was popping back and forth.
With about three quarters of the grid filled out, and no clue on the last dozen or so clues, it was time to cave in to that temptation… let’s put 1956 NOVEMBER in google and see what comes out. – if you type that into the google search bar in Chrome, it suggests NATO Phonetic Alphabet and ICAO Phonetic Alphabet. Ahhhhhhhh – N is November in the NATO alphabet, and it’s NAN in the ICAO alphabet, and the change was in 1956.
So what stayed the same? X-RAY – well that’s a clue answer. VICTOR – most of him is in the bottom right running up. CHARLIE – found him diagonally and MIKE is also on a diagonal. We’ve found NOVEMBER and NAN – there’s ALPHA in ALPHASORT, crossing ABLE, TANGO which should cross TARE, so whatever I had originally for 24 must have been wrong, it’s got to be UPSTARES, and OSCAR meets OBOE, which means whatever I had at 49 across was incorrect too. Oh, and of course those four together make NATO
Thank you theme!
One of the stranger aspects to the Listener, is that I’ve often used the thematic stuff to get a start, and then the finale is not something to do with the theme, but a couple of clues I can’t quite suss. In this case it was ??TE for 43 and ??LE for 38.
Did you know there are 78 words that fit ??TE in the most recent Chambers (thanks Word Web Pro) I looked at the definitions of about 30 of these before closely reading LUTE and smacking myself on the head – it’s RESOLUTE without the first half (yes, if you look closely at the scribble, I was also considering NATE as half of DETONATE). So that makes the last one ?ULE – a check on MULE and MURE and we have a grid.
Oh… we need a five letter word. I hope it’s SPELL – nothing else came to mind.
This was in the post on Monday after two solving sessions, one on Friday afternoon and one on Sunday night.
Slight reservations about SPELL, but this was rather fun and I’m going to call it a Victory to George.
2013 tally: 2-0-0
As has been pointed out a couple of times now, close but no HOTEL… 2013 tally: 1-1-0
Feel free to leave comments to tell me how to spell or not, and see you next week when Mohawk will be giving us a little bit of the old in-and-out.