A beginning a m?ddle and a solve!

Welcome back to George vs the Listener.  And another rushedish post without a scan, sorry for those that enjoy messy handwriting and scribbles.

This week it’s Tiburon, who hasn’t contributed a puzzle since the start of this blog, so hi Tiburon if you’re looking in.  Just over half of the clues have misprints, and the rest need thematic modification before going in.  Hmmm… that’s  a lot of modifications.

There is a 1 across, but I didn’t get it at a first read-through – but SCHWA (which can’t go in the grid) got me going on solving.  Although I got the next one (yay for hidden words!) and the first misprint, I didn’t do great on the first run through of the clues.  Not knowing how to enter answers put me back in the world of cold-solving, but a few aspects of the puzzle popped up…

  • Looked like we were in jumble territory  – since the letters in SCHWA worked with ARMAMENT, HOHUM, COCKPIT and SPOT.
  • MIDDLE appeared quiclky in the misprints, as did END

Online Oxford dictionary of quotations threw up A BEGINNING, A MIDDLE AND AN END, which is the right number of letters, and attributed to someone named Franju?  And more promisingly A BEGINNING, A MUDDLE AND AN END from Philip Larkin about the Booker Prize!

With the theme solved this should be easy, right?

Those muddles proved a real problem… I needed a massive overuse of Word Matcher, which lets you enter a first letter, a last letter and some letters known in the middle.  Needed that to get BOVATE, AGELAST, GREENLET and COTINGA.

It was fitting COTINGA in that I saw ARISTOTLE on the diagonal (we haven’t seen the diagonal used for a while), and a bit of googlying confirms that ARISTOTLE used that to talk about a WHOLE (up there in the top right), while Philip Larkin, who hasn’t made an appearance yet, was talking about a NOVEL, in the opposite corner.

Massive head-smack moment when I realised that I could make PHILIP out of the left-over letters in PHI,LIP,PI and LARKIN out of the left-over letters in CRANKILY.  That was a nice touch at the end!

This was another crossword that drove me to the limit – I had to chip away bit by bit – but it was fun nonetheless, and I like the effect of the final grid a lot.

I’m going to claim this one as a Victory to George!

2011 tally:  George 12, Listener 4.  Current streak:  George 1.

Next weeks post may be a day or two late, I’m off gallivanting and not sure of my internet availability (or if I’ll even be able to get a print copy of this week’s Listener, yikes!).  So see you next weekish for some Poativerbalism

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