Seeing double devilry

Welcome back to George versus the Listener crossword.  A new setter or new pseudonym in Pointer, and as soon as it came off the printer I noticed two things.  It’s not a barred grid (yep, I’m that astute), and the dreaded words – Printer’s Devilry!

I suspect this is going to take a long time and come in dribs and drabs, so I’ll update with every clue solved.  I’ve never tried Printer’s Devilry – I’ve read about it, and Peter B. at the Times for the Times site once mentioned that he got a high merit in an Azed clue writing comp for a Printer’s Devilry clue.

On a first read through the clues, I can see where I think the inserted letters might go for most of them, but I’m not getting much further than that.  I stared and underlined for an hour or so but couldn’t get past the idea of a PD clue.

Second solving session and a start is made!  Grid 1, second clue – SUEDES turned I SERVE into ISSUE DESERVES.  OK, maybe this won’t be so bad.  A little later I notice TIERS in the second clue in the second grid… TIDES – a check of six letter words starting with DES and DESALT works, making the phrase TIDES ALTERS.  I’m now officially one tenth of the way through the clues!

If I had shame, I wouldn’t be writing this blog, would I – a trip to the bathroom and a chance to look at these clues again and a few more start to fall…  last of the across clues in grid 1 – break up CLOSET to be CLOTHES IS SET and we have THESIS.  The second last clue in Grid I – insert BLEATS into TAPE ED to get TABLE AT SPEED.  The last clue has an obvious spot – inside BOLD to make B-something SOLD.  I had thought BEATER SOLD, but Bradfords has BANGER for an old car, so that’s ANGERS

Breaking up TONE PHEW in the first clue in grid 2 as TO NEPHEW and the first part of the clue should be something like UNCLE -ITS.  CLEVIS is a word, so it’s UNCLE VISITS.  And the second last of grid 2 – give HAL GUDRUN a WEDGIE and there’s HAWED GIELGUD.  7 clues down!

From this I should be able to start the first grid – assuming BLEATS and ANGERS end at the botom row, both end in S and there’s the SIS in THESIS, so I have seven answers, three in the grid and the unchecked letters T,E,I.  Hmmm, lots of 10-letter words have a T,E and I in them. Doesn’t stop me trying, though – word matcher lists 661 words with no repeating letters and a T,E, and I present.  Pity there aren’t five more!

Next one down is the last clue of the lot – break up IS with NALLAH (an old Listener friend) and there’s IN ALLAH’S.  That’s not likely to help me as I think it will finish in the bottom row and I don’t know any of the last three rows of the downs.

I’m determined here.  Another one bites the dust, and it’s what would be 1 across if there was a 1 across test.  break up EARLY with MUSCLE and you get EMUS CLEARLY.  Hmmm… that means that the unchecked letters are either M,S,L or U,C,E.  Add U and C to the E we already had and BIFURCATED appears, which would be a description of the grids.  That wouldn’t work because I couldn’t get every other letter of SUEDES in.

OH HOLY F**KING HELL – DUPLICATES????????  The first row of each grid contains MUSCLE and CLEVIS, the second row contains SUEDES and DESALT.  Duplicates!!!  Put these four words in both grids and now the list of unchecked letters is UCTEIDLS, just missing an A and P.

I think life is about to get easier!  Here’s what I think – the answers are going to complement each other – so the last across in the second grid will be the first six characters and end —THE.  I’d already underlined TOUR as a likely break-in point – and it is TO USE ETHER by putting SEETHE in there.

Two of the first down clues in grid 2 have to fit V-ABLE (probably VIABLE) and S-TANG (word wizards recommends SATANG). TRIM I SHED becomes TRIVIA BLEMISHED, and TO PILE is TOP IS A TANGLE.

The only places for WEDGIE and NALLAH to go are on the bottom half, crossing SEETHE, so the first three down answers in grid 1 should be M-S—, S-EWED (probably SHEWED), and L-ENAL (probably LIENAL).  Let’s work backwards – I’d already underlined AWAY SWAN as suspect, and it’s ALIENS ALWAYS WAN(TED).  I hadn’t figured out where the odd phrase was in the second down one, but we have the first laugh-out-loud moment, with WE LEAD becoming WELSH EWE DEAD.  The first one is the hardest of the lot, I thought it was in the last word and it is – pit MISLIT in TITLE and there’s TIM IS LITTLE.  Well he’s tiny, I guess he’s little too.

That leaves only one down. LIT–S (I’m a chemist – so I think LITMUS).  I’d underlined STALL.  Nothing’s appearing.  SLIT MUST ALL?  That doesn’t make sense. SLIT REST ALL?  Hmm… let’s try these last acrosses – there’s four of them.

Third across entry… one has to be I-E-A-, one has to be -A-L-N, and we’re still looking for a P and A in unchecked letters. ICECAP and CAPLIN look good – and CAPLIN works in grid 2 – JOCK EYED becomes JOCKEY CAP LINED. Aha – INVENTIVE becomed IN VENICE CAPTIVE.

Three more clues to go.  One last row of across clues:  –G-L- and -L-A-E.  We’ve got the P, but there still needs to be an unchecked A somewhere.

I should have just looked up the Forsyte Saga to find out it was GALSWORTHY that wrote it.  So THE SEAWORTHY SWORDS becomes THESE ARE GALSWORTHY’S WORDS – and I guess LITRES is going to have to work.  ALSA-E is probably ALSACE, can I make it work?  I’ve spent longer on this than most of the rest, best I can come up with is ROBBERS TELL becoming ROBBER STEALS A CELL.

And we are done!  That all came together pretty easily once I got the breakthrough, which I probably lucked into a little ealrier than Pointer would have anticipated.

My grid for Listener Crossword 4099:  Double Devilry by Pointer

Victory over Printer's Devilry!

Victory for George, and thanks Pointer – I liked this one a lot more than I thought I was going to going in.

2010 tally:  George 28, Listener 5.  Current streak:  George 5

Well the results are in and my first foray into the Azed clue setting competition was met with a resounding nothing.  Here is my nothing-winning clue for FOULARD

Nasty ‘orrible handkerchief (7).

Feel free to share any other failed clueing, and we’ll see if next month brings more luck.

Oh yeah!  A search for “Double Devilry” in YouTube brings up the Finnish metal band Devilry.  Who doesn’t love Finnish metal!

Feel free to leave comments below, and see you next week to find out if we can turn the tables on Kea.


2 Responses

  1. […] well, well – before last week I had only ever solved one Printer’s Devilry puzzle (a Listener from last year by Pointer).  Even though I solved it, that one took me over two weeks to work out and now I was faced with a […]

  2. […] week is Pointer – who we first met last year with Double Devilry, the first time I’d tried a Printer’s Devilry crossword, and I turned out to be better […]

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