Welcome back to George versus the Listener. If you read early last week, I claimed victory over Dysart, but then on checking the answers, I’d made two blunders, so there was an update in the standings, and Dysart still has my number, 3-1. But this week it’s on to Calmac. New setter to me (the Listener site has a crossword from 1997 which was way back when I was barely able to complete a daily Times), but the name is given away and it appears to be a commenter I remember from Derek Harrison’s Crossword Club message board.
Oh – Trevor Crowther from the same place put my habit of naming regions of the grid after characteristics of America up last week and it got a little attention – thanks Trevor. After reading it, I think that the best option would be to name the upper left corner “och aye” after scotland, the lower left corner “ooo arr” after the Wurzles, the lower right corner “cor blimey” after London and the upper right corner “eh guv” after Yorkshire. Shows what I know.
Mind the Gap has a device I don’t recall seeing before – unclued words with no thematic singificance. Sounds like an American crossword. There’s a row in the middle that is also unclued and not mentioned in the preamble so there’s something fishy going on there. Wish I could drag up whoever it was in comments way way way back who told me to look at the grid for unusual areas first – thanks to you.
There is a 1 across so we have a 1 across test. And a victory, nice juicy anagram + IT for INTERNAL AUDITOR. The preamble said 1 across wasn’t in Chambers, but it didn’t matter, I didn’t have Chambers with me, this was another Friday bar solve (Not looking on the cards for one of those today as I have appointments at 1 and 3, grrr). Part of the mystery is revealed almost instantly, as there is another juicy anagram at 1 down for INDISCREETNESS which isn’t going to fit int that 13-cell space. And a few solves later, ANAESTHETIST (anagram of HESITATES in ANT) means that there’s not enough cells. Maybe there’s going to be some moving of these extra letters to make a message in that middle row?
Yikes, I’m running out of time here (writing the blog time). Short story shorter, the clues were really generous, anagrams galore, and by the time I had finished three pints and a few slices of pizza, I had the entire top half of the grid filled out (once I’d seen that NO BRAINER, IRENE, SORDO, ETAS and TINSEL crossed, it looked apparent that these entries crossing the middle row were only going to be funny at the row itself), and was only missing a bit of the cor blimey corner. And with 15 and 27 being the right length, it looked like POUR might be part of the message.
Back home with Chambers, Bradfords and the internets – RECULER POUR MIEUX SAUTER came out from the extra letters I had in the answers crossing the middle – MIND THE GAP… and so there is a gap of three letters in the middle. I thought about cutting it out altogether, but figured that it was OK to leave there. Took a little longer to find JAMBES and SCAMP, but once they were in I’ve got a completed (except for the gap) crossword. Woohoo!
I was really in tune with the clues here and this was all said and done in the course of under three hours. Which probably means I’ve slipped up somewhere, but for now I’m calling it a Victory to George! Hope to see you again soon, Calmac.
2010 tally: George 21, Listener 4. Current streak: George 1.
Wow, this is rather literal… someone taped the “Mind The Gap” announcement at Paddington Station (no teddy bear in sight, unfortunately) and stuck it on youtube. And 54000 people have viewed it!!!! Must be a lot of fans of the announcement, is Calmac one of them?
Feel free to leave comments below, and see you next week to misprint some of Bufo’s auditions.