I have a rendezvous with Playfair next week… but for now, something completely different

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – a little late in posting this week, ended up having a surprise guest over so my “usual” routine was thrown off.  Plus the increasing amount of time I have to devote to Pokemon Go is eating into crossword blogging.

Tangram! This is the third Tangram puzzle, and all three have been Letters Latent (I wonder if that means tangram is a Letters Latent pseudonym, maybe for Stan Grasms?  Anyhoo, the Latent Lettters are pointing us at a poem, and there’s one row that is both Letters Latent and modified.  That’s a new one! Let’s get solving!

There is a 1 across and I’ve been doing Listeners long enough to think OS when I see “opening” so ST,CH,OS is there for STICHOS missing I and we are away – big pass on the 1 across test.

This was a pretty smooth solve – the clues were fun and concise (I was rather taken by “Changes sign” for VARIES with a latent V.  I was having less luck with the message, certainly got the I HAVE and THAT SOME, which doesn’t eliminate a lot of poems.  It was the end of the message – SEEGER to me only means the crooner Bob, but a check of poets named SEEGER brings up ALAN SEEGER, and I HAVE A (rendezvous) WITH DEATH AT SOME DISPUTED (barricade), and the anagram of SHADOW(shade) and the reversed BRINE-PIT(spring) fill up one row.

My working grid for Listener 4405, Revision by Tangram

That was short and sweet!  I did not know the poet nor the poem, and it is rather a nice one (apparently JFK was a fan), so thanks for alerting me to it, Tangram.

So sorry for the late post, and I think I can call this one a Victory to George.  2016 tally 23-2-2

Feel free to tell me that Alan Seeger should have been on the citizenship test, and see you next week when. Shakespeare gets to roll over in his 400-year old grave by being commemorated by two playfairs.

 

So if he’s the viceroy, who is roy?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.

OK – confession time.  I’m late writing this up and there is no good excuse, but there is one particularly bad excuse.  I’ve been swept up in the plague that is Pokemon GO.  I blame it being released on the same day as a Listener crossword with TWO PLAYFAIRS!!!!!  But more about that in two weeks.

There were two pokemons I had not caught on my walk in today, which extended the walk considerably.  I used to take the most direct route anywhere, but now I have to carefully map out routes that take in the most pokestops.

So there was this Listener.  Tut – there was one Tut puzzle before and it invovled a quote I did not know (three quarks for muster Mark).  This time it’s a poem, bet I don’t know it!

Extra letters in wordplay and clashes… hmmm… OK.  Not too many clashes, so mostly real words in the grid.  Let’s get solving!

There is a 1 across, but I could not get it on a first pass, nor could I get the second one, so the start point was that Y(UR)ET giving YURT with an extra E. That crosses AURORAL with an extra F (don’t see a lot of F’s in messages) and finally a grid starts to take shape.

I thought I was doing pretty well with the clues and puzzle, after an hour or so I had most of the bottom of the grid filled in, and the extra wordplay letters were starting to make sense – we had SHADE AUTHOR’S JOB at the end (ummm, doesn’t he or she have a job, an author, duh), and with ??ETRY ?USIC and F?IENDS as things that are not vital, it sounds like the author is anti fun (maybe the author is a Listener Crossword Editor who allows two Playfairs in one puzzle to be published).

I also had found only one clash – between CROWN ROT (clever clue that one, with the A from CARROT being the extra letter) and BOOKS.  That seemed odd, with only a dozen or so unsolved clues to only have one clash when five are needed.  It looks like the rest are clustered up the top.

Anyhoo – POETRY, MUSIC, FRIENDS pointed me at the source – The Dinner Hour by Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton.  LYTTON could be slotted in at 1 down, which could make 1 across LATENCY – TEN C for “dime” is a nifty bit of clueing – extra P that I already suspected was there.  But what does that make the unmodified 1 down.  PYTHON?  A trip to Chambers confirms – I was looking for a mythological character named PHYTON.  That leaves two clashes to find, and really only 42 across and 6 across with question marks – from definition 42 really looks like LAVEER, but I can’t see the wordplay.

The Wikipedia page for the author shows that there was a set of poems called LUCILE – ah, and so 6 across is LUPINE – LOU(t),PINE with an extra O I was already sure of.  It also says he was Viceroy in India, so there is the thing to be shaded across the middle.  We are done (if LAVEER is correct).

My working grid for Listener 4404, Earthquakes as Well by Tut

Pretty weird solving experience this one – it seems odd to me to have those five clashes so close together, though there is thematic material in the middle of the grid.  The clues were very good though, and I learned something in the poem.

I hope that we were meant to keep COOKS and not BOOKS in the final step – that’s what I sent in.  I guess I could go look at the solution since it’s been out for an hour.

Yep!  COOKS is what the Powers That Be (But Still Allow Two Playfairs In One Puzzle) were looking for and I believe I can call this one a Victory to George! Woohoo!

Yikes – look at that tally for 2016:  22-2-2!

Feel free to tell me that I should have gone for COOKS because I’m barely literate – if you are in the area come see me in Jesus Christ Superstar for the next three weeks, and see you next week when Tangram wants us to vision something again (and the week after that if you want to find out just exactly how much I detest Playfair).

I was looking for a very long one-act play where Horatio Nelson and Horatio Hornblower meet and discuss painful deaths.

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, for those of you who are taking a break from catching wild Pokemon.  Time to reminisce over a puzzle we all had a bash at three weeks ago and are eagerly awaiting the decision on if we have submitted an entry of correctness or not.  All will be revealed in about 10 minutes according to my watch so let’s get cracking.

Artix!  Most Artix puzzles I find bloody difficult, often with tricky endgames.  So what have we here – remove a letter and treat thematically… clues in groups.  This does sound tricky.

Fortunately there is a 1 across, and even more fortunately it looks like an easy one – M,OTHER with “one choosing” as extra, becoming a definition somewhere.  Woohoo!

SOPHERIM was my lead in to the deletions and treatments – with HORN, EMPALE and OCTUOR (which stupid me wrote in the grid as OCTOUR and so got stuck beyond belief on KAURI later on) in place, delete a letter and jumble to a real word looked like a good prospect, and ORPHISM took its place.

I made a much better fist of the across clues than the down clues, and saw what looked like it was going to be REARRANGE from the extra clues.

I had a P in the extra letters from down clues – was REARRANGE PERIMETER a possibility?

Next dawning was ACT and whatever the extra letter in 29 across was… ADMIRAL NELSON ACT ONE?  I don’t know a play about Admiral Nelson?  Wasn’t there a SCENE in the downs – yep, SCENE and 19 across has FIVE (which I thought was part of the clue).  HORN BLOWER.  SCENE FIVE.  Is there a play about Horatio Hornblower?

Oh… Admiral Nelson is also a HORATIO – it’s bloody Hamlet.

Earlier this year I saw a show that was called a “Radical Hamlet Remix” which was kind of Hamlet told in flashbacks.  It was interesting, but not my favorite thing I’ve seen.

OK – Hamlet Act 1, Scene 5.  Mid way through there is I’M SORRY THEY OFFEND YOU HEARTILY, YES FAITH HEARTILY – there’s our title.  So now we just have to work out the rest of these extra letters (it was around here that I figured out what I’d done wrong with OCTUOR), and there was a grid.

Huh, but what did the perimeter have to do with it?  There’s ghosts and spooky things, and references to Hamlet, but aren’t we meant to rearrange it?

Right next to it is a line from Horatio – THESE ARE BUT WILD AND WHIRLING WORDS MY LORD.  Aaaah, aren’t all of those letters in the perimeter?  Got out the highlighter… Dammit, I’ve still got leftover letters!

Oooooh, I do, but they are the letters of HORATIO, so everything that needed to be written in the bottom really did come from the perimeter.

My working grid for Listener 4403, No Offence by Artix

OK – this was a kind of a perfect storm of a crossword.  Just as I was getting frustrated at having found the theme, and using the theme to sursolve what was mostly my own stupid mistake, it then fell together rather beautifully, and that perimeter is something to behold!  Lots of Hamlet references, the letters of Horatio, and the quote, and with only one iffy (I rescind “iffy” – Artix popped in to show me that it is part of the text, making it very much a part of the thematic material) spiffy entry in I WILL. Masterful construction, Artix – I think I may have damned you with faint praise in the letter that accompanies my entry.

I believe we can call this one a Victory to George, woohoo!

Feel free to tell me I should really brush up on my Shakespeare (though this year I’ve been to productions of Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet, so I may have hit the annual Shakey quota), and see you next week when Tut wants to shake us up.

Righting the wrongs and wronging the rights isn’t as easy as it seems

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.  I apologise in advance – after scanning the grid I put it in the recycling bin, so I have to work from what remains of my memory.  On the other hand I have the most detailed set of substitutions you are ever going to see on this humble blog.

New setter time!  Hi tnap if you’re looking in.  So what do we have here – some misprints, clashes, and a warning that there will not be real words.  Oh dear – the curse of TGTDNCRW (The Grid That Does Not Contain Real Words – I’ll come up with a better acronym later).  Maybe I’ve come up with one – GNARL (Grid Now All Random Letters), which means using Word Wizards and searching patterns on Chambers is not going to be that helpful.

There was a 1 across and I did not managed to get it, but (f)ACED gets us going.  I had pretty decent luck with tnap’s clues, and managed to put together HEAR ASL Y?LE AND READ – and googling “HEAR ALL” “AND READ” gave me the phrase we are looking for – HEAR ALL YE LEARNED AND READ ME THIS RIDDLE – HOW THE WRONG PART WROTE SCOTT AND THE RIGHT PART WROTE LIDDELL.  So there’s our key – the clashes are the letters in SCOTT and LIDDELL and they have to be replaced.  There’s 35 misprints, and with one name being five letters and the other seven, that’s what is needed to not have any left over letters.  Neat!

I tried doing them manually and started messing up almost immediately, so I went to Excel and created a spreadsheet making sure the letters matched up in order.  I’ll past it at the end of the blog, you will probably have to click on it to see the thing in it’s glory.  Even with that, here’s what my working grid looked like at the end.

My working grid for Listener 4402, Right and Wrong by tnap

I’m glad I got the quote fairly early on, this made for a one-sitting solve, and while I thought it was going to be a slog, it was rather fun piecing together the final grid from the substitutions I knew had to be made.

Happy 4th of July to my Americaland friends – if you’re feeling a vortex of evil and terror from the desert, it is Phi and Sabre enjoying time together in the sun, probably working on a joint submission of a puzzle containing knight’s moves, Cyrillic characters and an inverted Playfair.

I believe we can call this one a Victory to George (the Listener website is updated, and I think I’ve got it all correct).  Not only that, but my spreadsheet below has detail that is lacking on the Listener site, with what the entry is!

2016 tally:  20-2-2

Feel free to tell me I was going to write up the Cure concert, and see you next week when Artix (hahahaha) writes a puzzle commemorating the English Soccerball team – no offence! Substitution table below…

Quote Clue Wrong Right Word Entry Clue Clue Wrong Right Word Entry
H 1A S L SCHMELZES LCHMELZES A 41A C D CONIA DONIA
E 7A C I ACED AIED N 42A O D OCOTILLOS DCOTILLOS
A 12A O D OVERT DVERT D 43A T E NETE NEEE
R 15A T D LET IN LED IN R 44A T L OSTEOLOGY OSLEOLOGY
A 16A T E LEANT LEANE E 3D S L MARS MARL
L 17A S L FSTOP FLTOP A 4D C L CREESES LREESES
L 18A C L CURABLE LURABLE D 5D O I ZONA ZINA
Y 19A O L ODE LDE M 6D T D ECONUT ECONUD
E 21A T I TEAD IEAD E 7D T D ARECANUT ARECANUD
L 22A T D ANGST ANGSD T 9D S E SKILLS EKILLS
E 23A S D PRAESIDIUMS PRAESIDIUMD H 10D C L DANCED DANLED
A 28A C E CARIB EARIB I 14D O L TOPI TLPI
R 32A O L UFO UFL S 15D T L TERAI LERAI
N 33A T L UTRILLO ULRILLO R 20D T I PATIENCE PAIIENCE
E 34A T L TUDOR LUDOR I 24D S D EBLIS EBLID
D 37A S I IOTAS IOTAI D 26D C D MUCIN MUDIN
D 31D O E OLID ELID
L 36D T L TIDE LIDE
E 39D T L ROOT ROOL

Shouldn’t we have had to text the solution of this to 07734?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.

Hey, UK, what the?

So let’s see – England collapsed overnight, the US election is a similar farce, Australia is about to run out of well-dressed lunatics to be Prime Minister (maybe I should move back), and I haven’t even managed a HC in the last two Azed competitions (I was rather fond of my last two clues, and it’s the first time I’ve struck out in a PD competition).

Is there any reason for hope?

Oh yes indeedy there is, for in a bit over an hour I am driving to Atlanta and going to see The Cure!

MEGA STOKED! When they came to Australia in 1992 I was living in Hobart and couldn’t afford to make it back to Melbourne for a show.  They haven’t done a show in any city I’ve been near since, but they played in Charlotte last night (I had a rehearsal) and tonight in Atlanta – so I am loading up a car with 40-something ex goth kids and we are going to partly like we still had hair to dye black!

I am wearing black sandals.  Goth yeah!

“The Head On The Door” was compulsory listening in High School, and those of us with the first VCRs would stay up late at night watching “Rage” in the hope they’d play a Cure video.  At the caravan park in Lorne, my friend Tanya would steal day-glo lipstick and we’d put string in each other’s hair.

And tonight I’m going to see them live for the first time.

Oh, did you come here to read about Literal Spling?

I guess.

My wish list for tonight…

– Fascination Street.  There used to be a public access TV channel in Melbourne and when they didn’t have any programming they would play “Fascination Street” on a loop and have a camera at a fish tank.  I must have watched hours of it

– Close To Me.  The video was the band drowning in a closet. The 12″ version with the crazy sampled tumpet bits was the best, it ended up on the compilation “Mixed Up”.

– Lovesong. I guess that’s always on the list. It’s simple and awesome.

– Lullaby.  I would be surprised if they do it live, but it’s such a great song.

– Boys Don’t Cry. They’ll probably do this.  If I’m forced to do a semi-serious song at karaoke I bust out my Robert Smith impression and wail.

OK, OK – Waterloo.  You know what you’re getting – some sort of word manipulation, and I have a pretty terrible track record because of all the fiddly substitutions and non-words.  The title hints that we’re going to drop some letters somewhere, so let’s see how that works…

There is a 1 across and it’s a fairly simple PENNYFARTHING which is three letters too long for the grid entry.  It intersects PRESENTIMENT which is only one letter too long.

Solving 3 down gave the true direction – WIGHT (I think it was WIGHT – I don’t have the clues with me anymore, it may have been WHITE).  So we are entering in answers kind of phonetically, but not consistently, it seems, since only one EN in PRESENTIMENT was modified.

My friend Holly is also a huge fan of The Cure, and she lives just two blocks from the venue.  This means parking and a place to party before and after is settled.  It’s going to be an outstanding day!  I’m bringing her a few six packs of local beer.

So anyway, some of it was frustrating, but there were a few fun entries – I liked MISCUE going in as MISQ and SEAWAY(I think it was SEAWAY). going in a CWA.

My working grid for Listener 4401, Literal Spling by Waterloo

I’m going to see The Cure!  So no matter what happens here, today is a Victory to George!

2016 tally:  19-2-2

Feel free to tell me I shouldn’t get excited about bands that are 25 years past their prime (I won’t listen, nya nya nya), and see you next week for a full show report.  And whatever puzzle comes next.

Listener Solving Dilemma

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, coming to you today from massive hangoversville.

Okeydoke, what has Dysart served up this time – carte blanche grid, twelve modifications of three types, and at the end add bars to make a new puzzle.  Hmmm.

This sounds difficult.

Well there is a first clue at least… and it looks like a hidden DAB and maybe “investigator” is an extra word?  The source could be found in extra words, couldn’t it?

A round of ice-cold solving later, things are looking promising – I have all but two of the first 15 clues solved, and another good set in the middle, hopefully about the point where the down entries should start.  Since EMMY was the first clue on the second page of my printout I started there and wrote down the possibilities for down entries.  None of them seemed to play well at all with the acrosses.

Hmmm?

Where do any of these across clues go?

Back to solving, I guess.

Another two runs through the clues and I have almost all of them solved, and still can’t see an entry point to the grid.

Flash of inspiration, please!

It was a day or so later, and the flash came – in another puzzle I saw TIMOTHY GRASS and it reminded me that there was an unsolved clue in this one that involved grass… and so it was TI,MOTHY!  A few beyond that was LEARY – TIMOTHY probably goes in next to ATAP and that gives somewhere for ROSTI and ASSAM to go – probably in the far column.  If LEARY goes underneath that, we could have TUNE IN, TURN ON, DROP OUT as the theme (explaining why I had OUTLET but no other O’s in the top half of the grid until I solved TIMOTHY.

Putting TUNE in FORA gives a spot for many of the other early down answers, though it means ANDES can’t be right, it’s URALS.

My working grid for Listener 4400, Three Steps to Heaven by Dysart

At this point it was time to turn to Crossword Compiler.  I started with TIMOTHY and LEARY along the right edge and worked my way back, eventually finding that DAB was DEF, and learning along the way that there is a festival called FURRIES, which apparently attracts a lot of men who identify with My Little Pony characters.  It was another two hours or so before I had a grid, and the requisite number of words and bars (and a big thank you to Crossword Compiler for counting words and maintaining symmetry.

My final grid for Listener 4400, Three Steps to Heaven by Dysart

Wow, that was a tricky one, Dysart!  Of the puzzles I’ve completed this year, this took me the longest – I don’t think I mailed it until after I printed out the next puzzle.  In the end I think I can call it a Victory to George, but by a squeak.

2016 tally:  18-2-2

Feel free to tell me that there’s something wrong with putting Dr. Leary’s ideas in a square, and see you next week when Waterloo apparently wants us to chop a bit out of a literary sapling.

Nice idea, but if the sequel is in base-12 I’m going to scream

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossnumber!  Elap got us off to a rollicking start with the hailstone numbers in February, so let’s see what Oyler has in store.

Triples of squares that include all digits 1-9. I wonder how many of those there can be?  There’s only six possibilities for the two digit ones at least, and all of them appear to be in the grid.

There appears to be a nice juicy starting point – if J is one of the two digit primes and so is X, then we are looking for one that can be multiplied by 7 to get the starting digit of the other.  Combine that with K having to start with the second digit of 1 down and there is J = 16, X = 25 and K = 784 confirmed right off the bat!  L has to be some combination of 2,3,5,9 and the only one that is a square is 5329.  This might not be as difficult as it looks!

And it wasn’t… within an hour or so I had a complete grid and an inking of what should be going on – the bottom row was 847159236, which is 29106 squared and has all the digits 1-9.

Here’s the catch – I couldn’t find any other row or column that worked in that fashion, but there should be three of them! The final column is close – if the 2 I had in 35 across was a 9 then it would be the square of 20316.  Bugger!  Backtrack time!

Fortunately it didn’t take long to find, and my error only messed up a few key cells – I had put 798 for 27 across when it was 898.  This only changed five cells, but they were exactly the five cells I needed.  Woohoo!

My working grid for Listener 4399, Square Time Sums by Oyler

Oyler sent me an email during the week (and I’m sure there would have been some gloat factor if I had messed it up) so I think I can chalk this one up as a Victory to George!  He also mentioned that there is another hidden gem in here.  So well hidden that I have no clue. I guess I should go look over a Listen With Others to see what the professionals have to say.

2016 tally:  17-2-2

Feel free to tell me that it’s a square of something, and I’ll see you next week when Dysart brings us a puzzle that shows the number of steps to heaven is nine less than the number of steps to sobriety.  I’m fine down here.

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