Welcome back to George versus the Listener Crossword, and last week appeared to keep the theory going, when I fail to finish, viewership shoots up!  So let’s see what happens this week.

Stepping up to the plate this week is Ragtag, a new setter to me, but the Listener Crossword site says that there was a previous Listener in 1987.  Wow… in ’87 I was a high school student in Melbourne and would you believe I was a regular solver of the cryptic crossword in “The Age” newspaper which I got every day, and solved on the bus on the way to school.  I’m going back to Melbourne to visit my parents in December, so we’ll see if I can still do it.  Anyway, we’re advised to work in pencil (or have two grids ready) until we work out what’s going on, and there’s seven clashes to be replaced by a symbol.  Some wordplays leading to extra letters.  So almost all clues are normal and with only seven clashes, this is looking like it could be in my league.

And there’s a 1 across, and a pass of the 1 across test, with DE,POSE giving me a start.

I made a rather good fist of this one in the first solving session (which was not one of my usual exciting sitting at a bar sessions, but I was supervising a group of students taking an exam – no Chambers or Bradfords, but I had internet access).

First letter clash I found was with ISLE and SHED.  Second letter clash I found was with TWAE and SHED.  Third letter clash I found was with LATHERED and SHED… ummm… if there’s only going to be seven, why are three of them in the one word?  You would think I would have taken the hint, but it wasn’t until I saw LATHERED also also clashed with ADAGE and the two classes in SLEEVE that I realised that some of the words are going in backwards.

Good news – I know that.  Bad news, I’m down from nine clashes to none.  Aaah, but the reversed words are every second word.  That rings a bell!  There was this Listener that was practically an empty grid where the answers were to be entered BOUSTOPHEDON style – and that would fit all the letters I had across the middle… except for LATHERED.  A clash is mine!

The Chambers entry for boustrophedon says that it represents a plough being pulled by an ox.  My extra letters I had where CH-P-E-SSWA-I-… but if that P was an R (I had thought it was HELP,MET but it could have been HEAL,MET) and isn’t CHARLES’ WAIN another name for the Big Dipper?

Back to Chambers and we’ve got it confirmed – CHARLES’S WAIN is the entry there, right number of letters, and we’ve got a few more extra letters to find (though I never found the extra R or L) – but the rest should be lemon entry, my dear Watson.

My working grid for Listener Crossword 4103: Annual Turnover by Ragtag

Yes, I really did circle every letter in SHED as a clash before I realised what was going on!

The rest of the grid fill was pretty straightforward given what I already had, and the last few clashes took a bit of finding (ELAPS was the last entry, and I was so sure that EMONG was going to be some bastardisation of AMOCK that I’d at one point noted about three clashes there), but I’ve got it now – the stars of the Big Dipper – I’ve now lived in the Northern Hemishphere for 15 years so I know what it looks like, wonder if any Australians or Kiwis had to stand on their head and think of Orion?

My final grid for Listener Crossword 4103:  Annual Turnover by Ragtag

Those in the southern hemisphere may want to turn their computer monitors upside down

Woohoo! I’m calling this one a Victory to George!  I liked the reverse words thing a lot, and the positioning of the stars is pretty close (at least I think so – this crossword didn’t inspire me to go get a telescope or wait for a clear night and hike up a mountain).  Thanks for the challenge, Ragtag!

2010 tally:  George 30, Listener 7.  Current streak:  George 1.  And the countdown is on – I only need three more to beat last year’s record.

Congratulations to Azed on the publication of number 2000!  I’ve sent my clue in, in anticipation of winning another nothing, let’s see what happends in a few weeks.

You get all sorts of dull “Made in Germany” videos when you type “Annual Turnover” into YouTube, but in amongst there is this wonderful bit of comparison between Islaam and Judaism.  What I really want to know, is who is he pontificating to, and is he really just talking to a stationary camera in a public park?

Feel free to leave comments, and come back next week to check out Adam’s merchandise.


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