Deus ex Bachina?

Hi there and welcome back to George vs the Listener, and the 2010 version is looking a little different to the first few years of this blog, I’m starting to see through arcane wordplay better, and grab onto themes faster (now watch me say that and end up messing up the whole rest of the year).

However one setter I have not managed to conquer yet is Bandmaster.  Last year there was Intimacy with a soccer score theme that I could not get a handle on whatsoever.  I also tried a Bandmaster on the Crossword Club page and couldn’t finish it.  So there’s a little sinking feeling going into it.  A few promising things to get me started – clues are all normal.  There’s some clashes that form a name – so looks like real words in the grid.

Big fail on the 1 across test, couldn’t see a thing there – we are off to a start with 6 across, PICK,LED – nice clue, crossing with a nice juicy anagram for PSYCHOTHERAPY running down the middle.  Hmmm… NOT AS MAD AS IT SOUNDS and PSYCHOTHERAPY.  With O,U,TWIT getting me started on the left side of the grid, I made pretty good progress in the first solving session, had almost all of the left hand side, but had a pretty substantial gap on the right (most unnervingly none of the 20, 21, 22, 30 region).

I didn’t have many of the clashes after the first session – I had MALADY/OUTWIT (thinking if we’re going to keep real words that is probably going to be the I), and COTERIE/CARES (probably T) and WEID/LAR (probably L).  I thought 16 might be BOTHER/DOLE but wasn’t sure if DOLE fit the definition (didn’t have Chambers)

The second solving session saw great strides – confirming DOLE and OGEE with Chambers and I have two more clashes, and with MIAS,MS at 1 across yet another, and it looks like the first name we’re after is MICHAEL.  So Michael with a 5-letter surname.  I don’t have the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (a friend jokingly suggested on Wednesday that we get married.  I said I would only do it if I could put a list of reference books on the registry – that would crack me up to see a wedding registry with Brewers and the ODQ on it), but Google exists and tells me that there are two MICHAELS associated with quotes about PHYCHOTHERAPY – BASCH and TORKE.   Can’t pick between them and the only clash I have in the bottom half of the grid is S/T which could be in either last name.

Turns out what I had to do was the same as last week in looking for the VU QUANG OX… I had convinced myself that there was a clash with RAUCLE, but scanning Chambers for SC words brings up SCURFY for having dandruff (still don’t get the wordplay) and so there’s a second clash in COTERIE and TORKE is the man.  Wow… he even has a home page and an email address. Did anyone email him and ask him if he knew he was the subject of a Listener Crossword?  Or if he knew the answer to 20 across?  I presume Bandmaster cleared it with him.  His quote is “Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass”, so out goes PSYCHOTHERAPY, in goes THE B MINOR MASS and that turns CACHING into BACHING and we’re all done.

EXCEPT I DON’T HAVE 20, 21, 22, 30 or 31!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is going to be a Phi moment when I have every single thematic bit and don’t finish, isn’t it?

Settle, George.  Bradfords says that a ROCH is a bird, but I can’t get the rest of the wordplay although the edge of harbour could be the H.   Nothing else in Chambers that matches _O_H seems to be a harbour.  I still need to find a misprinted A or E (probably A) but it can’t be there.  Put in ROCH.  21 probably ends with P, may have the clash (not at the P)… ??P… LIP would fit overrun but I can’t see the wordplay there either.  20 could be BLUES…

Funny aside story. About a year ago I was meant to be paying attention in a terminally dull meeting and I couldn’t do it.  I had not done that morning’s Guardian crossword and it was Chifonie (who I have problems with, seems to be a lot more local knowledge in a Chifonie puzzle than the other setters), and I was slowly working through it.  A slip of paper landed on my lap.  Drat! Caught! Bugger!  It said (I paraphrase) “I think 6 down is BLUES” (referring to the Oxford? team), and I looked behind me and there was a friend of mine who has a degree from Oxford in Latin smiling… she was as bored as me, and we ended up finishing the crossword by passing little notes.

So BLUES it is, and AGE (I guess) and PERT(h) gets us home.  Phi moment avoided!

Here’s my grid before all the changes

My working grid for Listener Crossword 4083: Not as Mad as it Sounds by Bandmaster

And after the substitutions and highlighting

My final grid for Listener Crossword 4083: Not as Mad as it Sounds by Bandmaster

I thought I was going to blow it on the last step, but I think this is all together, so I’m going to claim Victory to George!  And a first time win over Bandmaster.

2010 tally:  George 15, Listener 2.  Current streak:  George 5

I’m not going to hazard a video right now, as I have media player working overtime to bring me the 20/20 semifinal between Australia and Pakistan – winner to meet England in the final.  So go Australia!

I am going to be performing with the Feral Chihuahuas at the Cape Fear Comedy Festival over Memorial Day, so if you like your comedy within a short drive of a beach, come check it out. Feel free to leave comments below, and see you all next week to find out if it does with BeRo.

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6 Responses

  1. Oh boy did I get lucky – SCURFY wasn’t even right, though I didn’t think SCURRY fit the definition that well. I’m glad there were so many checking letters, all my wordplay queries looked pretty out there in the solutions page on the Listener site. Still claiming it, good thing there wasn’t an alternate quote by Michael Tofke.

  2. How did you know you were looking for a quote about psychotherapy? I don’t recall there being any obvious hints that it was a thematic word. Or did you just make an inspired guess based on its position in the grid?

    …Robert

  3. No obvious hints, but with the title and a single 13-letter answer running down the middle of the grid, looked like a candidate for alteration. With a 13×13 grid, I’m now used to looking down the diagonals and across the middle for theme words and phrases.

  4. Hello mr Bastard,

    Jake here, I lost my copy, but by looking at the finished grid I can say I’m not bothered so much.

    This weeks looks good.

    Have a good week!

  5. Not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing that you lost your copy. Let’s just call it a thing.

  6. […] Bandmaster Listener’s gracing the e-pages of George vs the Listener Crossword – “Not As Mad As It Sounds” with the Bach theme which I got, and “Intimacy” which was a nearly-empty grid. […]

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