I hope this Listener doesn’t get found at a crime scene

Greetings once again, welcome to George vs the Listener.  It’s been an outstanding year so far, and this week’s challenge is from Tiburon, who is a new setter to me.  The Listener webpage gives a crossword from 2005 that sounded bloody difficult and I may have already erased it from my mind.  So welcome to George V Listener, Tiburon, let’s see what is in store with Back Gate.

Misprints in letters, so all wordplays are normal.  Four names and a theme spelled out in the misprints AND the corrections.  That’s a new one!  At the end, curvy lines and some highlighting (maybe it’s a Jane Masnfield theme?).

Well I remember the first session on this one being at an unusual place, I went to get a haircut and there was a bit of a wait, so I fished it out and started doodling.  I was getting nowhere with the top half (complete and utter fail on the 1 across test), but was making something of the bottom half, with DEMESNE getting me a start on the California corner.  I was starting to work my way up from the bottom when DISASTER STRUCK!!!!

I was heading to a rehearsal for the shows that we did in Wilmington last week, and had a folder with my scripts and the crossword.  Gust of wind, meet pieces of paper shuffled together in a poorly-closed folder.  Everything went everywhere – I managed to retrieve a few pages of script (fortunately I had most of it memorized already), but Back Gate and all my notes on it had gone for a fly and are probably floating down the French Broad river as we speak.

So it was time to start again…

Amazing how some things come back to you really slowly the second time. Although I had remembered looking up TASSE and knowing it went in 10 down, the second time around 10 down sat empty for a long time.  I realise now what made this so difficult for me, I usually look for a few long anagrams to get started, and this grid is made up of only words from 4-7 letters! I guess there had to be that many clues to make the eventual theme and words, but it was a real hunt and peck to put the grid together.

Fortunately for me, a lot of the words stuck out as obvious candidates for misspelling, even if I didn’t have the answer… PLANT LAKE REED for example, or BALLY (though the wordplay was pretty straightforward, it was just a trip to Chambers to find that COQUET could mean DALLY).   Getting almost the  entire bottom half out helped a lot with the theme, because there was GUANIN finishing out the across corrections, and I know an amino acid when I see one.  Where there’s GUANINE, ADENINE, CYTOSINE and THYMINE can’t be far behind (Bachelor of Science, Melbourne Univeristy, 1990, thank you very much!).  That helped me greatly in unravelling that top half, the CY corrections taking care of SEA EEL (CONGER) and ANANIAS (STORY SUPPLIER).

I was still stuck near the middle of the grid by writing in MAIDEN for 24 across (thinking IDE in MAN).  The end of THYMINE confirmed that MAIDEN was wrong, so it was back to Chambers to locate MAELID, which then got me RETE as the last grid entry.  Is the wordplay tREaTmEnts – prime number positions (I guess 1 isn’t usually considered a prime for when it comes to prime factors)?  And MAELID reveals DNA right in the middle.

When I saw that, I got the point of the title – AND is a logic gate (exploited by Ploy in Signal Boxes), so DNA is AND backwards, nice touch!

Four names? Watson, Crick, hopefully Rosalind Franklin and the other guy… CRICK was the easiest to find, FRANKLIN weaved down to meet him, and thanks to the symmetry there was WATSON and WILKINSON.

My grid for Listener Crossword 4086:  Back Gate by Tiburon

My grid for Listener Crossword 4086: Back Gate by Tiburon

When I see the science theme, I’m there!  I really liked the finish of this one, I think the slog through the clues just seemed worse because I had to do it twice.  Thanks for the challenge, Tiburon but I’m calling this a Victory to George and the hot streak continues!

2010 tally:  George 18, Listener 2.  Current streak, George 8!

I swear this is a coincidence!  Entering “Back gate” into YouTube brings up this guy who put on his glasses, tried not to look at the camera and sang his song – “Meet Me At the Back Gate”.  Now I’m never the snappiest dresser in the world, but I am wearing almost exactly the same colour combo today, albeit with a polo shirt.  Creepy!

Yikes, I'm dressed like youtube guy

All I need is my sunglasses and a guitar. This is what I was wearing when I found the clip.

Feel free to leave comments below, and see you next week to find out if Auctor can double shuffle and deal me out of this streak.

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