Look Ma, no Vivaldi!

Hi there, thanks for checking in.  It’s another Friday morning in the sunny but cold south-east of the US, and time to crib together a bunch of notes on my weekly battle with the barred-grid beastie.  So far so good for the year, though history has shown that won’t last for long.  This week we’ve got Quartet by MynoT, who has made an appearance here once, with “Past Times“, which was a MASSIVE FAILURE here at George versus the Listener and a completely utterly empty grid.  So my heart sank initially on seeing this name and this not-quite-carte-blanche (let’s call it carte blanchish) grid.

Not only are we back in the deep freeze for solving, but we’re in there four times!  My first solving “session” was a couple of sneaks and peeks, all of them without dictionaries, looking at the clues I suspect Bradfords will come into play a lot, but here’s what I’ve got (no point scanning a grid, it’s empty)

Set 1:

FAN,FARE, something that looks like it should be GASPAR but I don’t think that’s right, PRO something,  SEIRS.  Not going to be able to put in much there.

Set 2:

EASTER, KNURS, RUB OUT (which means something far more sleazy in these parts), SNARERS, TANGUN.   Half of the entries, may be able to piece something together.

Set 3:

ADDISON, DISTORT, SOUSED, STOMPER, UTTER – well I know all three of the 7-letter entries, so maybe I can figure out which quadrant this is. Though there’s lot of common letters there.

Set 4:

BESHREW, COMBINE(?), something like REVAL(?), STOLE?

Looks like Set 3 is the best bet to get going.

This one is taking some doing.  I don’t think COMBINE is right, and I’ve found a starting point – with all three seven-letter entries found in set three, and not a lot of letters in common, they seem to fit well in the hippy corner.  There’s that tempting W at the end of BESHREW and WEENS that makes me think that set 4 go in one of the two bottom corners, trying them both out the Texas corner looks like a better fit – I can get all of my words for that corner except STOLE in… starting to think that the answer may not be STOLE.  Aaargh!

This is really frustrating – I can’t figure out yet which set goes in which corner.  I was trying to make the three six-letter words from set 2 fit into the locking six-letter squares in the two right hand corners, but not getting there.  Here’s what I’ve got now…

I’m glad I scanned that grid, because then I lost it.  I can’t find that copy at all.  I knew this was going to take some extra slogging, so I printed out two grids.  A new grid was a good thing, because two problems were resolved while re-filling.

– SOUSED could go in two places!  Putting it in the horizontal gave me HODMEN and took care of the rest of the top-right corner.  Not only that but the diagonal is AUTMN which looks very close to AUTUMN

– Either STOLE or REHEARS is wrong.  Not only would RETESTS fit, but it makes that diagonal WNTER.  What’s the chance there’s going to be mutilated seasons.

Now we’re really on to something – I can see THINGS ARE PRODUCED in the outside using the extra letters, and a google of that with “FOUR SEASONS” and I have THE FOUR SEASONS RUN THEIR COURSE AND ALL THINGS ARE PRODUCED.

That M from HODMEN looks like a good place for MITUMBA to start, and that clinches the positions of the last two quartets.  With the quote in place, and the seasons acting as extra checking letters, all that was left was to find those last few lingering words.  Set 1 gave me the most trouble (though I did hit myself on the head when GNEISS appeared!) with the last in being SEAFIRE (though all the letters were in place before I found the word).

Wow – I nearly gave up there, I spent more time trying to find the first quartet fit than on anything else in this crossword.  It’s a pretty stunning grid (as was MynoT’s last one that I couldn’t get out) and I’m doubly amazed that it was achieved using rather few out-there words.

I’m calling this one a Victory to George and the start of the year run is on in earnest.  I’ve beaten my run from the start of last year!

2010 tally:  George 7, Listener 0.  Current streak:  George 7.

I was hoping to bring you something new of mine today but the video hasn’t been posted yet.   So here’s a timelapse made by someone else in my town of the type of unusual weather we’ve been having in Asheville lately.  I’ve lived here 10 years and never seen so much snow!

Feel free to leave comments, and see you next week for some devilry of the print style with Qid.


2 Responses

  1. That was a brilliant puzzle, which I really wanted to finish. I solved the bottom half of the grid, and got the right words in the quote, but couldn’t find it in ODQ based on that info. I just didn’t get enough of the top half to fit the answers in and get some key words. Damn!

  2. […] MynoT we had an almost empty grid for Past Times, and then last year I had a really tough time with Quartet, but got there in the end. […]

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