I love you, Alice B. Toklas

[UPDATE: I added the grid scans in. This is not a deliberate Ploy to drive up traffic]

We’re going to test out the mystical “publish later” button on this one, because while you’re reading it, I’m probably internetless at the Cape Fear Comedy festival, maybe still celebrating an outstanding show.  One can only hope…

[updates – hi from Wilmington where the Cape Fear comedy festival is going on.  It’s their first time hosting a festival, so I have to cut them some slack, but it’s been a rather bizarre experience.  No show has gone on within an hour of its advertised time.  The crowd was very good – I believe the organizer is being taken for a ride by the headliner, who is arriving on the last day of the festival apparently just in time to do her show (wonder if it will be an hour late?  if she’s flying Delta it may be two hours late).  So the good thing is I can finish this blog off at the normal time.  The bad thing is that in the rush to get here, I forgot to scan my grids.  And now back to whatever passes as regular at George v Listener]

Ploy is back!  We met Ploy back in the old blog with Signal Boxes and I didn’t know this at the time, but there was also a collaboration as Harpy in Hard Rectangle with the grid resembling a map of Venice.  So I’ve got a good record with Ploy already, leading in to some good hope for this.  Eight clashes, some letter pairs to be extracted (not too many for a whole grid, so mostly normal answers) and that means that apart from six of them, all clues are normal!

Solving session 1 was back at the barstool (and it felt good – I had reasons to celebrate that day), but things did not get off as planned.  Massive fail on the 1 across test, ditto the 6 across test, 11 across (though it looked like it would end -LIA), and we’re not out of the gates until 13 across with a hidden TAMARA.  At first look I couldn’t see anything crossing it, from the definition I wanted 10 down to be AIRLINE but couldn’t fit it to the wordplay and there would have been a clash.  The grid at the end of the first session looked a little sparse, but I did have a TO and a NO as some of the letter-pairs.

Word Wizards was essential in getting things moving again, solving the pretty clear anagram at 17 and the subtraction anagram INCHPIN, and the addition LABROSE, and the container DEXTRIN.  I don’t have an i-anything, so I have to rely on finding somewhere to plug in my 7-year-old laptop (Toshiba – churning out electronics that somehow still manage it well after their use-by date) to get out those jumbles that I can’t see with letters written in random order.

Anyway, writing in LABROSE and DEXTRIN with the four clashes and there was UDESTEIN and before it the possibility to make GERT, so GERTRUDE STEIN could be made by resolving clashes.   In all four cases, we use the down letters, which have ROSE in them… ROSE IS A ROSE IS A ROSE IS A ROSE.  My friend Steven has a cactus plant named Gertrude Stein.

A bit of playing with the letter pairs and we have MUTATO NOMINE – name being changed.  So I guess the other four clashes resolve with the name disappearing.  And as usual, there’s a little cleaning up to do – the last entry I got in the whole grid was 39 across, and I knew there had to be a clash, but that meant it also had to be a name, and there it was – CHERRY!  Shortly to be obliterated to become CHERTY, sorry CHERRY.

So I believe we have a completed grid, a highlighted GERTRUDE STEIN, four ROSE’s crossing her (nice find, Ploy), and four other names (DOLINA, TAMARA, PETER and CHERRY) giving way so that the down answers can take over.  Oh…. looks like all the clashes were resolved by taking the down answers.  Hmmm

Here’s my grid before the changes

My original grid for Listener Crossword 4085:  If I've Told You Once... by Ploy

And with the resolutions and highlighting (and looking ever so neat)

My final grid for Listener Crossword 4085: If I’ve Told You Once… by Ploy

Victory to George and a very fun theme!  2010 tally:  George 17, Listener 2.  Current streak:  George 7!

Typing “If I’ve Told You Once” into YouTube brings up a whole page of this song I’ve never heard of by a band who decided to go to Sonic Youth’s hairdresser, enjoy the 90sness

Feel free to leave comments, and see you next week at the Back Gate with Tiburon

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