Robert Burns “Address to a place where ye send the Listener”

Hi and welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword, where the attempt to be all-correct was destroyed by the lack of a post office in week 1 and the lack of a complete solution in week 3.  Ummm… well good o then.  Let’s get cracking on Navajo!  Either a new setter or a newdonym.

This is one of the gentlest preambles in history. It appears we’re working with normal clues and real words in the grid (apart from two discrepancies between entry lengths and answers, which appear to be in three clues – 16 and 17 across and 17 down).

The Friday this came out I had a little good(ish) deed to do.  A friend of mine needed a ride to give platelets and back home since her husband was out of town.  Yes, I know that sounds like the start to a “I never believed anything like this could ever happen to me…” letter in Penthouse Forum, but follow me through.  I picked my friend up, dropped her off at the blood/platelet/fluids bank (various political vagaries render me unable to donate), and settled in at my favorite pub, ordered a plate of wings and cracked open To…

There is a 1 across and it’s a nice big juicy and despite its nonappearance in Chambers, easy to spot anagram of MOUNTAIN DAISY and we are away.  Success on 1 across test.

By the way, I’ve started using an old US Crossword trick and working from the bottom up on the Times Jumbo, Azed and Mephisto.  It does seem to work – not for this last week’s Azed, but worth noting.  For Listeners, I’ll stick with the 1 across test.

This was fun but gentle clueing – reminded me more of a Mephisto (is Navajo  Mike Laws?).  Things fell into place rather well – another gentle anagram gives the game away with HIT FOR SIX and HI,FOR checked, it had to be the number 6 going in that last cell to match the THREEP at 17 down.  63 is staring me in the face in my printout – 63 GREEN LANE ST ALBANS and 46 across sure looked like it could be HERTFORDSHIRE.

Originally I had REACH in there thinking that the aim was TO REACH 63 GREEN LANE… but that goes above the 32 letters.

Is that all there is, or have I just found the greatest red herring in the history of the Listener?  I’m about an hour and a half and three pints and a plate of wings in, and I have a finished grid…

My grid for Listener Crossword 4121: To... by Navajo

wonder if anyone tried putting it on the front of the envelope... or using it as the envelope?

Well the only way to know if I’ve been taken for a ride is to find those four words, right?  Enter google and start searching for “TO THE …” and “TO A …” with the words in the grid.  I tried some of the odder-looking words (GALERE, LATEENS, LOTI, ASCI, NEAFE) before finding it in one of the last down answers – there’s a Burns poem ADDRESS TO A DEIL.  Apparently Burns liked addressing things, since there’s one to a  TOOTHACHE and a LOUSE.  Didn’t find the fourth, but three are going to be good enough for me!

Timing appears to be good too – there was a Burns supper near here two weeks ago, so maybe this was to coincide with the Burns supper in Brevard, North Carolina.

Done and done – everything found in one sitting, and then a second to confirm that I was on the right track (well at least I hope I am).

I’m going to call this one a Victory to George!  I wonder if Navajo tried to fit AL3 6HE in the spaces below HERTFORDSHIRE?  That would be a tricky task.

2011 tally:  George 3, Listener 1.  Current streak:  George 1.

Entries are still coming in for the first of a very randomly and occasionally published Lessener Crossword series.  The second Lessener will be coming out soon, so feel free to send me your grids and comments, I’ll be passing them on to Zaphod and there’s half an awesome prize up for grabs.

Leave those comments below, and see you next week to find out if I ♥ Φ

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