Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, and this time I think wordpress is behaving properly and saving my images (fingers crossed). Today is the holiday for US Independence Day, since July 4th falls on a Saturday, so happy ‘Merica day, yeeeeha! I floated the idea that we do this weekend’s performances of “The 39 Steps” as American caricatures, and treat all the Scotland scenes as if they were done in Canada… “This is the CBC… the suspect, Richard Hannay escaped by jumping on to the Confederation Bridge, just outside of Prince Edward Island”.
OK, let’s get to Elfman. What do we have – some highlighting, and decoding of letters in clues. Hmmm… normal clues and all real words in the grid? This could be deceptively easy… or hard.
We are denied a 1 across yet again – we have to rely on the 3 across test, which gives us a gentle anagram for GURGOYLES. We’ve been told that this means I need the seventh “character”… I suspect that means that spaces and punctuation marks (hopefully not the numbers at the start of the clue) count – which gives us as U instead of the G for the message.
I don’t have many notes from solving the clues – I think one of the weird parts about hiding the message in the n’th character is that I spend more time worrying about counting characters than solving the clues. Sure enough it appears that there were some spaces in the message. I also noticed LAUNCH PAD on the bottom as being a potential theme part.
In the end I had a full grid and the message USE HIGHLIGHTED CELLS ON OTHER CLUES… Huh – ON?
So I have to find the highlighted parts first. Well, there’s LAUNCH PAD… and we know there’s something symmetric…
Somewhere in the middle it looks like SEVEN is in evenly distributed cells… is it a countdown to a launch? Yep – there’s the numbers 10 to 1. So we take the 10th letter of 11 across etc… and get ROCKET MAN. Aaaah, Elton John (though I’m partial to the WIlliam Shatner version).
Odd puzzle this one – I wonder if there would be a way of hiding the information in a more logical order? Fortunately not too difficult and I think we can call this a Victory to George – woohoo!
2015 tally: 18-0-4
Feel free to tell me that it looks more like a penis than a rocket, and see you next week when Wiglaf describes many of my attempts at the Listener.