This family walk into a talent agent’s office and say they have an act like none he’s ever seen before…

Wow, the scanner at the library did a terrible job.  I thought I had scanned this already, but when it came to writing up the blog, I hadn’t, and I couldn’t find it, so scanner B gets called into play.  Enjoy the unreadability… I can probably do a better scan later.

Welcome back, Ten-Four – the only other Ten-Four Listener that has appeared here was the very first puzzle on the old blog.  Yes, before the days of doing either really good scans or really terrible scans, there was the one that started it all, and it was a successful solve.  Tiny little preamble this time, there’s a big blocked off word, and eight clues worth of wordplay.  Be still my heart?  Normal clues except for eight?  Real words in the grid!  There must be some horrible catch coming up.

1 across test is a real sign for the future.  13 letter anagram with fourteen letters sitting there after “Erratic”.  I’ll take SOMERSAULTING and bank that extra C thanks, Ten-Four.  Would you like to serve me up a juicy anagram for 11 across as well?  Thanks.  While we’re on the anagram train, how about 1 down… SOLO STOPS plus a C.

Maybe Ten-Four and I are on the same wavelength, but the rest of the grid fell really nicely into place, and within about the time it takes me to do the daily Times, I have almost a full grid.  I was not totally convinced of SILENES or TEASEL.  I had CERCTOA as the extra letters, which wasn’t looking like anything useful (I had thought the wordplay for 10 down was G,D,AY(E), but then I saw what I should have been looking for earlier… that ACROSTIC of the first letters.

You know what would be really cool?  Set a Listener and have a completely misleading acrostic that leads to a plausible, yet utterly wrong, solution and see who bites.  I bet I would.  Well we’ve had a few acrostics lately, and none of them have led me wrong yet, so there’s our message.  EXTRA LETTERS FROM CLUE N OCCURS N TIMES IN FINAL GRID.

So write in the letters as found, and hunt and peck through the grid (if the grid is in any form legible, I crossed out all the A,C,R,O,S,T,I’s that I could find to see how many are left.  It becomes clear that the middle word has to use only the letters A,C,R,O,S,T,I and so that would be ARISTOCRATS with 29 being the definition of NOBS.

I didn’t start this in the bar (alas, I don’t see a bar solve possibility today either with 4075 about to appear…), I started this on the sofa, while watching a movie (can’t remember what movie, wasn’t really paying attention), but this was all done before the movie was over.  Nothing wrong with that, although I was not quite myself for the next few days – I was out of crosswords to work on!  I’m used to needing all the time available to pin these down.

So that was a bit of fun, Ten-Four, and I’m claiming it a victory for George and the outstanding start to the year continues.  Last year I got the first six, and then had an empty grid (the damned boustrowhatnow).  This could be an omen for next week…

2010 tally:  George 6, Listener 0.  Current streak, George 6.

You can probably guess what I’ll put here, it’s not safe for work, and if you haven’t seen the film, go see it.

Feel free to leave comments, and see you next week for MynoT’s Quartet.

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7 Responses

  1. I guess there was a reason I was not completely convinced by TEASEL, it was TEAZEL. One of those differences between an all-perfect, and an all-somewhere near.

  2. My first completed Listener, a moment of pride I suspect may be alone for quite some time…

  3. Way to go, Dan! Aside from numerical ones, my first solve was Part Exchange by Hubris, and it took almost another year to get another word puzzle all the way out. Keep reading the solutions when they come out, and you’ll overtake me in no time!

  4. Well done Dan. I got sidetracked for a while by having an an n as a spare letter and thought I was looking for “contract”. I did get there, but still didn’t get the letter counts to balance as advised in the acrostic itself. Definite win though 🙂

  5. Hey George.

    I pretty much never even attempt the Listener (usually I have a quick look at the preamble and grid, decide life’s too short, and move on) but managed to complete this in a single sitting with only a little delvage into Chambers.

    On that basis it must have been right at the easy end of the spectrum.

    That said it was well-constructed and must have taken a while for the setter to get to work.

  6. I agree with you there – it was pointed out in the Crossword Club message board that the only way to do it is to have no C’s in the grid other than the one in ACROSTIC. I did not spot that at all.

    As for the shortness of life, that is true, but think of the time spent in pubs with an intractable crossword and people around you thinking that you’re either brilliant for doing them or ridiculous for doing them. It’s a win-win!

  7. […] attempt to be half-correct.  And I got it!  I also fared well (with one letter as a mistake) in The Isolated Word, so maybe I was feeling a little smug when I came to tackle this […]

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