Roger, wilco, over and out

Welcome back to George v Listener.  Hats off, please, as we pay respect to Hubris, who (as we learned a few weeks ago) has joined the Setters Invisible and leaves us with this final Listener crossword.  I’ve only met Hubris once before, with In Shock, where I managed to get it out in spite of myself, missing a bunch of the references and putting the theme together without needing the misprints.  So here comes Contractions.

There’s a new clue type – two non-overlapping definitions one leading to a word, one leading to a thematically-treated word.  Don’t think I’ve seen that type of clue before (though something similar has come up since, in last week’s Guardian prize crossword).

I was proctoring an exam the day this came out, so I got started with no dictionaries, but a computer close by.  There is a 1 across, but I can’t make anything of it straight away, so on to 2 across where OB’S,ESS gets me going (and is definitely not one of the odd clues).

The clues with wordplay and definition I found pretty straightforward, and the grid came together pretty quickly – with only 12 “not normal” clues, treating clues as normal until proven otherwise was paying off. The first two of the 12 I found were MANDATE/MATE and STRANDING/STRING… so it looks like AND is being removed.  With IMPOVERISH losing OVER to become IMPISH and ASCENT becoming SCENT it really looks like we’re losing small words to make the final entries.

Before the exam was over, I had a complete grid, and 8 definite deletion clues.  I had wordplay to everything else, and four leftover clues where I could match one definition, but couldn’t make sense of the rest of the clue.

But here’s the thing – we’re told there’s 12 of these odd clues, so if I’ve got wordplay for all but 4, and I’ve found 8 definite deletions, then surely these last four (EAGLE, SERR, STRIPPED, GATLING) have to be the ones that are thematic?

My grid for Listener Crossword 4110:  Contractions by Hubris

My grid for Listener 4110: Contractions by Hubris

I suspect I may have done exactly what Hubris was hoping to avoid, and completed the grid without fully understanding the theme.  Hmmm… I’m going to claim it now, but I’ll happily rescind if my logic is incorrect.

Victory (tentative) to George, though I’m sure Hubris wouldn’t like to hear about how I solved either of his Listener crosswords.

2010 tally:  George 35, Listener 9.  Current streak:  George 1

If you type “Contractions” into youtube you get a whole page of pregnant women… except this video

Feel free to comment below, and see you next week when we take a new squizz at Stan


One Response

  1. Yep, as I suspected, there was more to this than meets the eye, but it was obvious enough what the odd-clues-out were that it could be done without full understanding. A cheap victory is a good victory!

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