My 9 – 5 (which now appears to be a 7 – 11) is getting in the way, and I’m going to see They Might Be Giants tonight, so there’s not much of a chance I’ll get this finished and up today. Check back tomorrow for your regularishly-scheduled bloggyness.
Before we get going – have a looky at this video. My sketch comedy group was asked to make a video to promote Asheville ahead of Asheville Beer Week. It was released this week, and my pink suit rocks the entire shoot…
It was also very cold for most of the shoot.
Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – a battle that the Listener seems to have the edge on this year. However when I read the preamble for Elementary by Wan (Wan appearing to be a new setter or a newdonym, so hi Wan if you’re looking in!) I knew I was going to be on the side of this puzzle. That PhD in Chemistry is not going to go to waste, no it isn’t. Two-letter symbols for elements are transposed between clues, and there’s something hidden in two rows. I’ve seen a few things done with element symbols but this is a new one for me.
If you’re in Asheville, and now that you’ve seen the video, you know you want to be in Asheville, there are two barbecue joints of note. One is 12 Bones – it’s the flashy, award-winning, President Obama visited multiple times establishment. However I have a soft spot for Luella’s – it’s open longer and later, has a far better bar, and is walking distance from my place (and has smoked wings!). And it was there I went on Friday for a triple-L (Late Liquid Lunch) armed with the Listener. Hey, that makes it a Late Liquid Listener Lunch!
There is a 1 across, but I couldn’t see it straight up… the first obvious answer came with 14 across – swap Te for Nd and get P,AND,A. With that I was away… this was a very fun solve, and three beers and a plate of wings later, I had most of the grid, and just needed to clear up a few fiddly bits down in the Florida corner (though I was pretty sure of LONELY, JUMP and HELM, I wanted to make completely sure).
I started matching the elements together beside the puzzle, but ended up once I got home having to do it in Powerpoint to make sure they all matched up, and it appears that they do!
Not a plethora of penny-drop moments, but a really fun workout by Wan, and I think I can claim Victory to George!
2013 tally: 6-3-2
Feel free to tell me I really did waste my degree (or my time in getting it), watch the video again, and see you next week when Zag finally puts Dolly Parton in a crossword puzzle.
Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – busy couple of days, and so I’m getting to this well after the solution is out, so not sure if I have that much to add to the general conversation, but here goes… it’s Hedge-sparrow, making a sixth appearance in George vs Listener world. I have to say that Hedge-sparrow has made quite the impression on me, with the really tricky clash-resolution tour de force Here and There, before that was some super colliding in Mass Production, the speed of light in Metrical Variations, Charlie Darwin in S, and wormholes (hey, they popped back for a visit recently) in Travel Agents. The first four had pretty sciencey themes, so in my note to Hedge-sparrow I beseeched a return to scientific or scienfictional themes. Was I to get it with A Murder Mystery?
Three detectives, ciphers, evidence in the grid, a few DLM+1 clues (I may have coined that phrase, the device was in a Spectator puzzle a few months ago as well). Side by side clues for down answers concealing a long message explaining the cipher. OK… sounds like a wealth of thematic stuff, let’s get into it.
There is a 1 across, but I couldn’t get it on a first read-through. No luck with 12 across either, but at 13 I hit the first of the DLM+1 clues with CAPO and we’re away. That crosses 2 down, which has to be SWANS or BAYOU, but only one fits, so I can place both SWANS and BAYOU. I got lucky with a number of the down clues that way, it seemed if I could solve one half I could solve the other half so it was a two-for-one.
With seven of the DLM+1 clues worked out it looked like it was going to be the HOUSEMAID who was the victim. I was missing the I and S which helped confirm BUTTER. The longer message took a bit more working out – I had KILLER and LETTERS and then tried to make the message meet in the middle. KILLER FIRST THEN UNUSED LETTERS.
Moderate panic when I thought this was going to be a Playfair square! But that wouldn’t work, not all of the messages are even numbers of letters. Phew… So maybe it’s a simpler cipher – write HOUSEMAID then the rest of the alphabet and match it… Aha – now we have DRAPED OVER FLOOR, FLOATING ON LAKE and AT BOTTOM OF GARDEN, and we can work out the detectives as MAIGRET, FR BROWN and WIMSEY. I’d already spotted BODY in the middle, and GROUND above the body. So maybe it’s under the ground and Wimsey is right? But there’s MERE under the BODY. So it’s definitely floating on the lake. Hmmm… I guess the bottom of the garden doesn’t mean under the garden does it? So I changed my mind to B. FR BROWN.
Now I see I’d missed EDEN as the garden.
One long session later and we’re done – I think I had this in the mail on Monday, and I believe I can actually call this one a Victory to George. Very fun puzzle (but how about the sciencey stuff next time, Hedge -sparrow?).
2013 tally: 5-3-2
Feel free to tell me that I need to get on to these earlier (I know I’m out of town next Friday so I should write it up before I leave), and see you next week when Wan gives us a puzzle in which to find my dear Watson.
Hey – I forgot the funniest part… I really do need to write these up earlier. Looking at the conversation on the Crossword Center, and the note on the Listener site – looks like I lucked in to the weapon in a funny way – I saw DRAINO and thought “Oh, he’s fed her DRAINO and tossed her on the lake”. Then looked at Chambers and saw that DRAINO isn’t there. But it was still nagging at me, so I looked up ?ONIARD and there was PONIARD!
I still think it should have been DRAINO
Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword. Time to right this ship, eh? It’s been a pretty miserable start to 2013, with four failures already, ouch. Let’s see what happens next? It’s Elfman! There’s only been one other Elfman puzzle to appear in George vs Listener (though I have it on reasonable authority that Elfman has contributed to at least one other puzzle as a grouponym), and that was the Rudyard Kipling themed Requisite Knowledge, which I solved without too too much trouble.
First thing I noticed was that this printed on one page! And that’s one US letter page, the (probably appropriately) shorter and wider bastard child of the A4 page. This feat was managed by there being a short preamble, no break between across and down clues, and a tiny tiny tiny long thin grid. What is this? Three 7X7 grids next to each other, with something joining them through the middle.
Stone cold solving again – it looks like half of these clues have a lie in them. Hmmm
There is no 1-across but there is a first clue, so let’s start there… and not be able to solve it. Fail on the “1 across” test. Ditto the next few. Hmmm… a first scan through all the clues only yielded a dozen or so straight off, but fortunately the words that could be lies tended to stand out in the clues.
A few more runs through and I have a few places that could be a starting point – there’s only six 6-letter clues (though there’s seven clues that have 6-letter enumeration… aaaaah… one of them isn’t U PRISE, it’s U PRAISE and the lie is in the six letters!).
You know how sometimes you get really lucky? Here’s how to be a completely lucky bastard in solving a Listener puzzle with about half the clues figured out
- the very last clue is fortunately quite easy – HAP,U (no lie)
- since all 4-letter answers are accounted for, it has to go in the bottom left of one of the three grids
- It crosses two seven-letter entries, which should be somewhere in the middle and have a U or a P as a second letter – I’m looking at you, U,PRAISE (lie)
- That means another seven-letter entry not too far past U,PRAISE has to have a U as the second letter. TA,BAN,US – in you go
- One of the first 4-letter clues has to fit that B in TABANUS… hello B,ELT
- OUT,LEA,P fits down the middle, as does L(EFT)IE and ST(E)RLET
- Go to Word Wizards to find words that would fit the rest of the grid… EN L’AIR, ANNULET, KE(P)T and of course the very first answer is THE OAKS. No clues seem to match SUSPECT… aaaaaah… that’s the unclued entry (not the bit in the middle)
- The middle line now reads AHALFTR – to Google! A HALF TRUTH IS A WHOLE LIE
The luck of the Aussies is smiling on me! Not only have I got the first grid, it’s the alternating truth/lie grid, I have the entry that goes all the way along the middle, and every other clue I’ve solved can be sorted to their grid by truth or lie!
About 90 minutes later, looks like we’re in action – UPRIGHT and ANANIAS complete our trio of unclued entries.
And if I’ve made a transcription error in the one I sent in, the squares will be too small for M. Green to make out!
Very fun puzzle, Elfman, and a stroke of luck that will hopefully get myself back up and in the solving habit. The solution will be out in about 40 minutes, but for now I’m going to call this a Victory to George
2013 tally: 5-2-2
Of course it can’t be as simple as all that, can it? As Dave pointed out in a comment (and misery loves company), it’s OBLATE, not OF LATE. I even considered OBLATE, but didn’t look it up. Hang head in shame, and see if we can manage a year with more silly failures than actual successes!
2013 revised tally: 4-3-2
Feel free to let me know that I took horrendous shortcuts and should be punished, and see you next week when Hedge-sparrow kills a mystery
Welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword, where reading preambles is not our forte. But more of that later.
No, more of that now – I am TERRIBLE at reading preambles. Want me to mess up a crossword, put something in the preamble that I have to notice. Maybe include a reminder for me at the end of the clues. It may be a condition, preambuloseits.
Let’s see what I can miss this week with Quinapalus… there’s a second grid, some clues with misprints in definition, some missing wordplay in answer. Alphabeticall jigsawiness will ensue. OK…
Quinapaulus gave us the intriguing 3-Dish small but perfectly formed last year which I breezed through. This looks to be tougher, though it appears there’s only two 9-letter entries, and two 7-letter entries (and those intersect each other) so those could be the way in.
There is no 1 across, but there is a first clue. It looks like it could be A LA with “Cooked Like” and we’re away. B,H,P comes next and that’s two of the misprints. Can’t see any of the next two, though it looks like one should be an anagram of C,GREEN and is probably a missing letters clue. The one after it is another anagram for CAUDLE, and a misprint, then C,O,O, another misprint.
Not having much luck finding these extra letter clues, I know there’s not as many of them, but shouldn’t I have gotten one by now?
Finally – DO(G)ENDS and ENTE(R)ER – I can solve these missing letter clues! The next one looks like it should be an anagram of (TRUDE) and mean garrison. Since it’s alphabetical it must start with E.,. I can’t think of anything that fits.
I went through the rest of the clues wondering why I could really only solve the misprints clues. I didn’t have enough to start on a grid fill – I didn’t have either of the 9 letter or 7 letter clues.
This is looking dismal.
And so it sat with me missign the obvious until the deadline came. I hoped to come back to it when 4231 came out, but I didn’t.
It wasn’t until last night that I read the preamble and realized what I was missing… the CLUES are in alphabetical order, not the answers. I was ruling out some really obvious answers – so REDU(I)T, PY(R)ITI(S)E and LOCUST TREES (with any possible combination of an S and a T removed) can go where they should. You idiot!
I looked at it for about another hour and a half yesterday and managed to get some of my answers making sense in a grid.
But this is well and truly a mighty victory to Quinapaulus and the Listener crossword! I still don’t have enough of the message to know what comes next, looks like there could be GRID and STAPLE in there.
2013 is shaping up to be not my year – 2013 tally: 4-2-2
Feel free to point out how to read a preamble, how to piece together a message, and when to give up, and I’ll see you next week when Elfman gives is the mising link between ALOE and LYNN
Oh dear, it’s not going to be my week, is it? I made a very silly pair of mistakes last week and so did not have a completely correct submission for Detective work, so the record takes a hit (I’m still going to claim a win for The Crossword That Never Made It Out Of The US). I’ll keep it short this week as we have a posthumous Listener, a numerical by Ruslan.
Ruslan set four Listeners, all numerical – the last one was Number Or Nummer which ended up in my Hall of Shame with the Empty Grid Award for 2011. I didn’t get a single number/letter in the grid! Before that (and the only other one in the GvL days) was Beating the Bookies – I kind of got it, but I transposed some numbers in the grid, so the one I scanned and posted (which seems like it may have disappeared from my old account) wasn’t correct either.
We go from no preamble to one that barely fits on the first page of my printout! I won’t regurgitate it here, but it did seem like there were some pretty obvious entry points – 9ac has to be 8 (giving 16 as the grid entry), 8ac has to be 33 (leading to 39) and 18ac has to be 45 (leading to 54).
That gets me pretty quickly to nowhere… 19 should have been easy to work out, but two pages of scribble later I’ve come up with about half a dozen that fit.
And now as I’m writing my blog, three weeks after the puzzle, I see where I went wrong. DOOFUS! I was trying to solve 1 down as the 19ac possibilities minus 16, but I should have done them as minus 8 right? AAAARGH!! No wonder what I got for 1 down wasn’t giving me anything that makes sense later on in the grid.
Ruslan, you have the last laugh. Victory to the Listener Crossword.
2013 tally is looking pretty dire so far – 4-2-1
Feel free to point out that I should just give up here, admit lexical numerality patheticness, and if I don’t take your advice, see you next week when Quinapaulus gives us a tree to climb.
Another Friday, another Listener – and hi to any new readers (there was a huge spike in views last week, not sure if that was because I posted late, or there was something special about last week). This is George vs the Listener, where one average solver makes public his hits and misses and transcription errors are the norm (if you missed it, scroll down for a funny postscript on Xanthippe’s puzzle from last week).
This week’s challenge comes from Ilver – there’s only been one Ilver Listener before, Easy Win, which I managed fairly easily with the Pig Latin theme. What have we here? Well I don’t know, there’s no preamble. Hmmm…
Now how does one get started when there’s no preamble? With 1 across of course, and at the time, nothing was coming (even though it was a pretty obvious clue later on). This was a frustrating start, no preamble and no obvious answers to clues until I hit 16 across… well LA(T)TE fits the clue, and fits the space, let’s bung it in! The crosses A1,TS so are all the clues normal? Not sure what’s going on with 19 across, but the next one I can answer is E(SS)E at 20 across, so things are still kind of looking normal.
28 across is a mini-breakthrough. Clearly an anagram clue, but if it’s NEW+TRADE+AREA it’s WEAR AND TEAR with an extra E or if it’s N+TRADE+AREA it’s WEAR AND TEAR with a missing W. Almost immediately under that in the clue list is another wonky anagram, this time it’s definitely ARTY with an extra N. OK, some clues have extra letters in wordplay (D’OH – that makes 1 across SORT).
Now we’re cooking… in go some answers…
OK, what’s this 41 across? The answer has to be TOPIC, but the clue is SORT FIRST LETTERS OF OTHER IMPERFECT CLUES TO PRODUCE THEME. Which works kind of as a clue (anagram of first letters) but is kind of awkward.
Hey idiot – maybe that’s a part of the preamble? Can we make a preamble of these other clues that have a bunch of numbers in them?
BEING IMPERFECT, SOME WORDPLAYS INCLUDE EXTRA LETTERS… well I knew that, but that’s a fun clue for SIN
FIRST LETTERS OF EVERY DOWN IMPERFECT CLUE TENDER INSTRUCTIONS… aaaah I guess I should read those then…
READ THE EXTRA LETTERS… well I was going to do that, duh – do you think I’m a novice at this.
UNCLUED ENTRY IS AN APPROPRIATE TITLE… oh yeah… you would have thought that at this point I would have worked out the middle row, but although I’d poked at it, I didn’t have an answer for the middle row – is it THE DOUBLE CLUE?
To Google – THE DOUBLE CLUE is a HERCULE POIROT mystery, and he’s an anagram of the first letters of the across imperfect clues.
Gentle readers – there are gaps in my education that you could drive a semi through. I have not successfully finished a novel by Dickens, Peake, any Bronte or Austen. I have never read a Poirot novel, and really only know of him through parodies on The Goodies.
But I have a grid for him
Much as I was unfamiliar with the subject matter, I loved this puzzle from start to finish. It reminded me of two fond favorites… In Clue Order On and On… where there was level after level of hints hidden in clues, and Some Assembly Required, where we had to make up clues for missing entries. Applying it to coming up with a preamble was a stroke of genius.
And the law of preamble average equilibrium means we should be in for a three-page preamble next week, right? (yes we all know the answer to that).
Victory to George! 2013 tally: 5-1-0
Feel free to criticize my reading abilities, and tell me where to get started on the works of whoever wrote Poirot in comments, and see you next week when Ruslan gives us some ancient Egyptian sewing techniques.