Sarah Palin can see Russia from this Listener

Welcome back to the hungover post-Thanksgiving edition of George versus the Listener crossword.  Another Azed competition has come and gone, and I maintain my clean sheet of not cracking the top 50.  I thought this might have been the month, I was rather pleased with my clue for GROAN (wordplay leading to answer, definition as spoonerism)

No rag up to South madness (5)

And now to some real clues – this weeks battle is with Stan, and it’s Stan’s second Listener, last year we had Disagreement, which was a rather fun bit of mathematical trivia, and now we have News Quiz.  Misprints in every entry, leading to a question, some jumbles (hmmm… we seem to have jumble fever around).

There is a one across, but a big fail on the 1 across test, couldn’t see it at all.  Much much better luck with 4 across, as not only is it ICE-PACKS but with IN T,HAT and ALOE crossing it, 4 across looks like one of our jumbled entries.

I solved this one in dribs and drabs, I found the down clues a bit easier than the across clues, and part of the question came when I had TAT–OFTHE— looked like it was going to be STATES OF THE USA.  I also had CAN YOU at the start (still didn’t have an answer for 1 across, but -ANYOU is not going to be anything other than CAN YOU).

Having the start and the end of the instruction, I used a poor solving technique and tried to force the question by looking at candidates for misspellings.  By this brute force method CAN YOU NAME THE MOST NES AND W STATES OF THE USA.  And now all the misprints are clear – I manage to fill in most of the gaps in the middle from finding places where these misprints would work.

I’ve also heard that one before – Alaska is the most Eastern state (since it pokes across the 0 degree meridian or whatever that thing is), and the most Northern state, and Hawaii is the most Southern and the most Western.  So the jumbled CHAINSAW has HAWAI (and the end of NUCLEI gives us the other I), and ALASKA must come from 1 across and 4 across. That was enough to give me ALMA for 1 across.

You would think that would be all said and done, but I still had a problem… I didn’t have 28 down or 35 across.  It was a bit of a head-smack moment when I realised I wasn’t looking for an old name for Argon, but that it was just A and AIRT is the answer, and that twigged that the misprint isn’t NOSE for NOTE, it’s SACK for PACK.

And we have a grid (this is my working grid, so there’s no higlighting)

My grid for Listener crossword 4111: News Quiz by Stan

Stan is your trivia master

That was a lot of fun, and I’m going to call it a victory to George!  Wonder if Stan’s next Listener is going to keep on with the random trivia element, I think it’s a good idea with a lot of potential.

2010 tally:  George 36, Listener 9.  Current streak: George 2

A bit over a week ago I was in a Thanksgiving show (I mentioned it on the Times for the Times blog that I was doing a piece about Charles Dickens themed condoms). It was a big hit, but one of the best parts of it was this video we filmed to show in the breaks.  Completely ripping off the Ken Burns documentary style, here is “The Thanksgiving Day Massacre”, and yes, that is me narrating.

Feel free to leave comments below, and see you next week when Xanthippe gives us a girl of all things!

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