Dimensionally challenged

Welcome back to the lateish post for Quads II by Shark.  Still in the land without printing, so all of the grid manipulation sounds like it might be easier if I get to start in Crossword Solver, especially since symmetry can be set.

We start off with a carte blance, and a 1 across – not only that but it was F(w)ASTED and we are away!

I got off to a pretty good start with the first part, though the bottom half of the grid came together faster than the top, despite thinking that 30 down was ENTER with the E and N being unindicated.  I guessed FOURTH DIMENSION pretty early on and that helped guide the top left entries in particular.  After two solving sessions I had a starter grid

my first grid for Listener 4414, Quads II by Shark

The next set of instructions proved to be my undoing. I know that the 90-degree symmetry means that certain cells need to be kept, so I shaded those in green.  I started looking for good places to bar off and remove cells, and the creation of EMO/OBI/RET/ITA gave me a starting point, but after an hour of playing, I just could not figure how to remove 40 cells to get to a reasonable blocked grid.  I’ve read the solution and looked at the other blogs, and still don’t see how the blocking out seemed to be so easy.  Oh well… here’s as far as I got.

My attempt at finishing Listener 4414

And so we have a Victory to Shark and the Listener Crossword – there was a lot to do here, but I couldn’t get through that middle step.

2016 tally:  29-2-5.

Feel free to tell me that for someone who blacks out as often as I do I should have been able to finish this one, and see you next week when Ploy gives us a choice of political parties.

See you tomorrow (hopefully)

Greetings gentle readers.

Time, printers, scanners, and a chance to take a few days vacation are conpsiring against me sitting in a hotel room and typing up Shark.  I’ll be back at home nursing a hangover tomorrow, that sounds like a far better time to blog.

A deficiency of vitamin beer leads to losing weight and gaining clarity… dreadful

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, and woohoo – next week I will be back in Asheville and boy will my printer be working overtime!

But for now since we are back in the world of words, and it’s Jago! As long as the puzzles don’t involve multiple steps of origami I usually find Jago pretty straightforward.

What have we here – for quadrants, answers too long for the entries, looks like some letter squishing and deleting is going on, well it says deficiency, so I guess that must be it.

Let’s get solving – since I can’t put anything in the grid yet I started a word document and started a two column spread for the answers.  I figured might as well go cold solve… there was a 1 across and it was BRID(g)E so we are away with a big pass on the 1 across test, woohoo!

I got a few of the first few acrosses and downs and it was obvious all the B’s had to be removed in the top left quadrant.  Everything I had solved in the bottom left had a D in it, so that looked like a good candidate for the bottom right.  Soon I had half a grid and the unclued answer looked like it could be RICKETS!

Funny how things work out – a long time ago a friend and I started writing a mock trailer for a serial killer who uses vitamin deficiency as a method of torture.  We blocked out a few of the scenes, and my favorite was a single shot where a woman screams RICKETS!!! I thought it would be a joke that almost nobody would get – I have the feeling Jago would like it.  So it’s vitamin deficiences – BERI BERI for no Vitamin B and RICKETS for no Vitamin D.  What’s the bet that SCURVY and Vitamin C are lacking somewhere… yep – bottom right.  Wait a moment, it’s not vitamins – it looks like I’s are missing in the top right.  Well without iodine you can get GOITRE and there it is.  I think it was all done in a bit over an hour.

Wow my notes are exceptionally neat when I’m not working with paper… here’s my grid.


And the notes from the Word document.




11.  WILCO








23.  LIVID


27.  DULSE



























NW quadrant – lose B? BERI BERI
SW quadrant – lose D? RICKETS
NE quadranr – lose I? GOITRE
SE quadrant – lose C?  SCURVY

Another fun, straightforward puzzle from Jago (probably what everyone needed if they actually seriously tackled last week’s Math Monster), and I think I have successfully completed a paperless Listener.  Victory to George!

2016 tally:  29-2-4

Feel free to tell me that I really should have finished filming that script (because we should have), and see you next week when… ummm… isn’t it Shark week? Anyway, more Word files and crossword compiler shenanigans.

The trouble with triples

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.

Howdy folks!

Things are still a little off-kilter here.  I’ve been keeping up with daily crosswords, since those are easy to do in the morning on my laptop.  What I haven’t been doing is keeping up with the barred grid puzzles, which really need a printer.  I’m living in a spare room at a friends place and working in a paperless office, so the best I can do is bring up the Crossword Club, try to make a grid in Crossword Solver and go from there.  It is not the same!

Anyone else actually go paperless on the Listener? Advice, tips, tricks?

And so, gentle readers – I had a stab at Analogy.  Pythagorean triples, looks like all three-digit or greater numbers in the grid, and some extra mathy stuff to “help us along”.  A little looking up of pythagorean triples brings up two points – there’s a lot of them, and at least one of a and b must be even.  There’s a lot of clues here, but one sticks out – there’s a square (and a square of a prime other than 2 has to be odd) and a single letter.  The single letter is in the lower spot, so X has to be 2, and P has to be 3, and the entry is 66^ + 88^ = 110^ and I have one entry.

Which is better than an empty grid…

But all that I got.

I’m sorry Nod – I’ve given short shrift to what seems like an interesting and challenging puzzle, there’s just no way I had the time or energy for it.

Victory to the Listener Crossword!

OK – this weekend looks like it’s going to be hot and unpleasant so I’ll try sitting inside with a fan and trying the last three Listeners, but until I get back to my usual habitat, I don’t expect there to be much going on here, sorry.

2016 tally:  28-2-4

Feel free to let me know that I could have done this with half a brain and a calculator in 25 minutes (or go to the other blog to see how it was done in this fashion) and see you next week when… ummm… I have no idea what comes up next.


When one clashes with an angel, doesn’t that usually not go so well?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossoword – well gentle readers, the worst has been realized – I am in a bit of a printerless scannerless void.  I haven’t even started the most recent two Listeners, and another one has just come out.  Hopefully in the next week or so I’ll get some quality calculator and laptop time but this new city, new office, new people to talk to really cuts into ones antisocial activities!

So before I disappear presumably into the void, let’s talk about Raffles.  The debut puzzle was last year and I found it pretty tricky.  This one had an extra degree of difficulty – I was going to leave town the Monday after it came out, so I had to get it finished and in the mail by the end of the weekend, while cleaning up my apartment.  Tick, tick, tick.

Extra letters, remark, speaker, clashes.  Got it.

The is a 1 across and it looks like an anagram with an extra letter – MISHAPT plus N and we are away!  Woohoo for a pass on the 1 across test.  That crosses MESARCH (extra E), INTRO, STAY OUT and things are looking good – except for that unclued entry which quickly becomes ROOIN?? which doesn’t seem to mean anything.  ROOINGS?

Next sticky point is over in the next quadrant, where I have and all checked BRERUB.  Looks kind of like CHERUB, but isn’t there only meant to be two clashes?  Surely they’re not next to each other?

Working around the grid, 30 down is looking like AZR?I? – close to AZRAEL.  Hmmm…

Getting the last few down entries and it looks like GORYI… wasn’t there a POPE GREGORY somewhere?

Look at me, gentle readers, learning from the errors of past mistakes – straight to ODQ where there is only one one entry for Gregory I – NON ANGLI SED ANGELI… You can teach an old solver new tricks!

So from there it was pretty smooth sailing – the four angels RAPHAEL, CHERUB, AZRAEL and ARIEL make real words in the clashes and unclued entries – a little odd that it wasn’t really necessary to solve 7 down or 30 down, but a fun puzzle, and a single session solve right when I needed it.  Woohoo!

2016 tally:  28-2-3

Feel free to tell me (as I now know having looked at the answers) that I missed a chance of having a scan of POMMIE in the blog, and see you next week when who knows what will happen!




Yes, yes, I’m a blue meanie

Welcome back to a late edition of George vs the Listener Crossword, coming to you from New Jersey, where getting internet access this morning proved far more difficult than I anticipated, so the time I had set aside for writing up the puzzle ended up being used for banging my head against computer networking people.

Anyhoo – Paint My Old LP… I had been given a tip off that I might find this one easy, and enjoy it. The night it came out was the opening ceremony of the Olympics, so I was at my regular hangout enjoying some good old-fashioned racism and making a start on this one when the batender upended a whole can of red bull on it.  For those lucky few of you blisfully unaware, red bull is a citrus/caffeine energy drink popular with people who want to stay really awake while drinking.

So I had to try to write in answers over soggy parts of the grid.  Anyway – extra letters in wiordplay, one clash and some shading instructions.  Early on I saw BEADLES and thought it was probably the BEATLES we were looking at and sure enough, there is TAMP to take care of the clash.  Woohoo!

Took a little longer to piece together the extra letters but when I got back and started looking up the Beatles catalogue, we have songs and albums missing a colour – (white) ALBUM, (blue) JAY WAY, OLD (brown) SHOES, (yellow) SUBMARINE, and finally the message MAKE LETTERS OF THE TITLE YELLOW, THE REST BLUE… and the grid turns into the cover of Yellow Submarine.

My working grid for Listener 4410, Paint My Old LP by Nudd

That was fun!  Not very difficult, but a very nice grid at the end.  My only criticism was that the number of clues and the number of completely checked answers meant I didn’t have to figure out all of the wordplays – EWER and MAE were prime examples here.  But in the end I think I can call it a Victory to George, woohoo!

2016 tally:  27-2-3

Feel free to tell me that I shouldn’t take the lazy way out and that all worplay matters, and see you next week when Raffles puts a little Extra English on the ball.


Crosswords that unite the various abilities of setters and solvers

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.  We are in a transition period here – this one I printed, solved and submitted, but I left before I got a chance to scan the grid, so let’s get it out of the way – the phone picture cropped grid of probable unreadability.

My working grid for Listener 4409,Hidden Philosophy by Xanthippe

Feel free to leave comments on whether it is worth it, because I have two more coming up like that!  There’s a chance there will be some printing facilities available at the conference I am heading to today.

Anyhoo – when this puzzle came up the first thing to notice is the different style grid.  The second is that it is in four quadrants and there is some trickery going on in the clues to each one.  Hmmm, four mini-Listeners in one?

Quadrant A: remove two letters from clues, wordplay only are swimming

I got started on this under fairly uncomfortable conditions – I had just had an optometrists visit, and my pupils were still dilated so I was wearing sunglasses.  And eating tacos at a newish place nearby.  So this is blinding taco corner.

There is a 1 across!  And not only that, it is REAL(is)M and we have an extra A and M (are the removed letters always next to each other?).Woohoo!

I spotted two of the wordplay only clues quickly – SAMLET and SANDER, both of which are fish.  They might be jumbled, since the place where SAMLET has to go starts with an M.  There’s “swimming” in 2 down – aaah, SOLE.  Great – got all the crazy thematic ones, but kind of stuck on the rest of them.  This is frustrating, I can’t move on – I looked at the first part of B and saw what looked like an anagram of SPURIAE but that doesn’t really get me going.

Hmmm… if 3 is an anagram of SOLE, could 6 end with S and be VUGS?  Woohoo!! VUG is a word, and not only that it opens the whole thing up – AMEND A LETTER MISPRINT helps me solve the rest of A quadrant!

Quadrant B:   Amend a letter misprint, wordplay only clues are pollarded

This was two days later, waiting at the hairdressers

It does feel strange to have a completely full area, then move on to a completely empty part of the grid.  Anyway, chunk SPURIAE – it’s a misprint for AROUSE giving UPRAISE.

B quadrant went in very quickly after the struggle on A – maybe it was cottoning on to the style of the clues – ADD A LETTER looked probable as the extra letter, and the wordplay only clues were for trees.

Quadrant C:  Add a letter, wordplay only clues are meandering

Back home now for what I hope is the final stretch.

Well it was easy to see which three were the wordplay only clues since they were much longer than their grid entries and there some extra unclued here. Huh?  Well the first wordplay only clue I solved was MISSOURI do I figured the rest were US states, and yep, there’s MISSISSIPPI but the third doesn’t make much sense.  Anyway, I had ??MOVE?WOR? which makes me think it’s REMOVE A WORD – so I did move on to D before completely finishing C, not knowing what was going on with the wordplay-only answers.

Quadrant D:  Remove a word (I hope), wordplay only clues are up

One of the reasons I’d moved on to D before finishing C was that PSALM was staring me in the face. I started looking for extra words before doing all the solving, and COMPLETE THE QUOTE USING LETTERS FROM was a good start. 43 looked like wordplay for PARROT which could fit in going up.

Finally I am there! Letters from SPRINT ROVER CATCH completing the quote from Adam Smith and quadrant C was meandering (I finished C after finishing D and the quote) – it took a while to find the quote, though it turns out I had it in a collection of essays.

This was a really fun and challenging Listener!  I like it when there are layers to a puzzle and this one had many layers that had to be cracked in order.  Best of all, I think I can claim a Victory to George!

2016 tally – 26-2-3

Feel free to tell me that I should have started with D and worked backwards, and see you next week when Nudd apparently wants us to deface an album.