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Earth-shaken but not stirred

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, and from the Listener that could be done in the pub over a few beers we now have Phi.

Oh what fun times it’s been.  Despite finding out that Phi is a fan of the blog, a very cool guy, and I even scored a few votes in his clueing competition last year, I am YET to finish a Phi Listener.

Let’s take a walk through the litany of failure…

50-50:  practically an empty grid, precious few clues solved

Disorders: About a half of the grid filled in, some of it incorrect. APOOP across the middle really summed up my effort.

We Interrupt This Programme…: Got the theme and thought it was going to be a cakewalk.  It was a cake stagger followed by a cake flop.

So now we come to Heart.  I’m determined!  We’re going to do this.

Carte blanche, but not even really a carte blanche, since it doesn’t fit the grid provided.  Why should it?  Maybe it’ll fit in a heart.  180-degree symmetry.  Throw out heart idea.  Answer to first clue not at its natural location (maybe it’s at the pub).  Multiple letters in cells, OK.. that’s enough preamble for me.

Basically what you’re saying, Phi is that we’re in stone-cold deep freeze solving with some clues that are normal (except for some extra words), we don’t know how long the entries are (though they won’t fit into this grid or even another grid we’re meant to come up with ourselves).


The first chance I got to look at this was while I was supervising a laboratory.  You may be surprised to hear that a student asked me why I looked at a crossword for over an hour without writing anything in it.  Must strangle student.  As is par for the course, a first run through the clues yielded very little.

A second sit and a few breakthroughs… LEAF BEET sounded like a go, and with KAABA, POTVALOROUS, ORMOLU, PERTER, URGE, OUPA, EPACRIS and TENSENESS surely I can start to fill out the top half of the grid.

Problem was I didn’t have much of what I figure must be in the down half… it looks promising that ALES, FORCE, EORL and EUGE can cross LEAF BEET, POTVALOROUS, PERTER and URGE.  That foesn’t seem to give me much room to cram in ORMOLU, unless there’s a lot of bunched together letters in POTVALOROUS.

Well, there’s 180-degree symmetry… so if the downs start with ALES, then acrosses end with whatever 19 is.  And I can’t figure that out at all.  Though that’s not going to work out, is it?  EYEBATHS has 8 letters, and won’t fit into the spot that KAABA fits into (not that I’ve found where to put KAABA).

And why do most of the “downs” I’ve found look to be 4 letters… except for NERVATED, TSETSE (which at least I can fit) and what might be PUPAE?  The only other downs I have are OPAL, SNIFF, NOSE, IN RE, FILO, CLOY, HEME and BEST.  You would think with all those Ps I have in the top, I could find a spot for PUPA.  And what is going to cross BENJAMIN?  There’s no B, J or M to be found.

To make matters worse, I have a feeling I know the theme… I’ve found superfluous DISH, DENTURE, ANODE, ENGRAVING, SILVER, ARMOUR and maybe TABLEWARE and that’s all pointing at PLATE.  And wasn’t there something recently about the North pole moving (rent got too high or something?).  PLATES move, so that’s probably what’s going on here.

But not going on in my grid.  I don’t even have enough to scan, just imagine a few pages of trying to shoehorn things into 15 columns that are not going to fit at all.

That’s four in a row for Phi!  Victory to the Listener Crossword.  I got a lot closer on solving the clues (now watch a bunch of them be wrong), but still couldn’t pull it out of the fire.  Not the most auspicious start to 2011!

2011 tally:  Listener 2, George 3.  Current streak:  Listener 1

Feel free to leave criticism below, and see you next week for Les Sixth Listener of the year with Raich.


One Response

  1. […] I have yet to complete a Phi listener!  Let’s look through the carnage, shall we – Heart = empty grid.  50-50 = practically empty grid.  Disorders = lots of letters crammed into spaces, […]

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