Does Salamanca have a vision of endless women?

I just saw from the Listener site that this is Salamanca’s 50th Listener set as Salamanca alone.  So congrats Salamanca!  Of those 50, only one has appeared in George vs the Listener, and it was practically an empty grid.  So Salamanca is a setter yet to be cracked.  Let’s get cracking!

And we’re in the world of real words in the grid again after last week’s diversion into all modified forms.  And all the clues are normal, although some of them are missing a definition.  This sounds deceptively straightforward!

OK, since there’s not that many lacking a definition, I went on ignoring the asterisky ones for now. 1 across is part of the thematic stuff, 10 across has an asterisk, so Salamanca has to face up to the 12 across test – and it’s a nice simple DARES.  Got all the downs crossing it too, so a cracking start.  Before I started the blog I tried some of the “Tales of the Bard” crosswords and generally got nowhere, so either I’ve tightened up my solving of regular clues or this one has more straightforward clues.

The first solving session was done during a snowstorm, so I had the computer, Bradfords and Chambers, and I made a decent start of things.  You can see the grid below.  I giggled at seeing ENSEPULCHRED, as it’s one of my favorite words to clue.

Working grid for Listener 4070:  The Glady Marsh by Salamanca

OK, I admit, I did look at the asterisked clues and was so convinced that 21 was going to be PARR that it stayed almost to the end.  In the second session, I decided it was time to tackle the theme – I’m pretty sure that 1 across and down combination is going to be —-ING ON THE —L which means that 5 down is G-EG-ON. Now over at the Crossword Centre, there’s a GREGSON that writes nice concise reviews of Listener crosswords. Is Salamanca setting a crossword after a solver?  That’s a bit obscure, right?

I’m sure smart erudite people would jump straight to “A Study In Scarlet”, but I’ve never read it.  Google is the cliff’s notes of the world, though – the whole book is up there somewhere for everyone to read!  So now I know that there’s a GREGSON and a LESTRADE and they interpreted the WRITING ON THE WALL as being women’s names that weren’t quite finished.  So ANGEL(A), SOPH(Y), NEST(A) (from Agnes), LIND(A), LAR(A), PEAR(L) (and not PARR even though I’ve got it written on the side), BETS(Y) and WAND(A) are in the form.  With the theme in place, there were only a few last scraggly clues to get in there.  So the theme is now THEA GLADYS MARSHA and we are done!

Final grid for Listener 4070:  The Glady Marsh by Salamanca

I’ll be interested to see how this one is received, I suspect that most of the Listener Universe would be really familiar with the theme and breeze through.  I didn’t know the theme, but it was easy enough to find with electronic aids.  I suspect in the days before Google, I would have been going up to strangers and saying “Do you know of a book where there’s this Gregson character and some other guy who has eight letters in his name and the third letter is an S?”.

So I’m going to call this a Victory to George and (like last year) a pretty decent start so far.  Not only that, but scratch Salamanca off the list of setters left to crack!

2010 tally:  George 4, Listener 0.  Current streak:  George 4.

I’m doing a big Valentine’s Day show tonight and tomorrow night at Funny Business Comedy Club in Asheville.  Here’s a bit from last year’s show – Men are from Bars, Women are from Penis.

Happy VD all, and see you next week for Franc’s Dots of Fiveness

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2 Responses

  1. Not exactly elementary, my dear George, but accessible enough for the ponderous Gregsons amongst us to deduce. I was perilously close to missing Thea in the title though. Nice one Salamanca.

  2. […] and now it appears we’re going two in a row with Sherlock Holmes, following up 2010′s The Glady Marsh  (the less said about Mazy, the […]

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