Kill yourself now and avoid the rush

Welcome back to George vs the Listener, and the ability to use the letter T has been restored to duty. Funny how things go, after writing about the Listener last week I started reading “Ella Minnow Pea” by Mark Dunn where most of the book is a lipogram of sorts.

So what have we this week?  It’s Charybdis!  You may remember Charybdis from such Listener crosswords as “Out to Work” (with the little jumping jack figure), the doughnut grid in “How to put on a little weight” and one half of Harpy in that amazing view of Venice in “Hard Rectangle“.  All Listeners that I had an awful lot of fun with and managed to complete.  So I was definitely looking forward to this one.  There’s a graph to trace, some consequences, a name and extra letters from wordplay.  That looks involved!

There is a 1 across, but I could not get it for the life of me on a first read through.  Ditto 5 (which doesn’t have enough spaces in the grid for the enumeration) or 8.  So at that time, we use reverse psychology and go to the bottom of the clue list.

There is a 39 down, and it’s S(INN)H and I’m in a much more comfortable world of mathematics, and the final extra letter is N.  HUME,PS and anagram for LINGUAL+W and LI(KING)E later and this appears to have been a good move.  Not only that, but filling the grid from the bottom up meant that I could see straight away that EG,ROW and T,H,INN make the bottom row read GROWTH IN HUMPS.

Not sure what consequences could come from a GROWTH IN HUMPS – maybe camels become even less comfortable for sitting on?

At this point I’m convinced that this crossword is going to be about climate change due to increased carbon dioxide emissions.  I remember going to a talk by F. Sherwood Rowland several years back where he had been supervising the collection of air pockets from glacial cores to determine CO2 levels and it looked like a flat line up until about 1850, and then shot up pretty dramatically.  Rowland is also a seven letter name, and he’s got a Nobel Prize (well a shard of one).

I’m feeling even better about this when it really does look like 19 across is going to be an anagram of CLIMATE.  Just can’t find any reference to carbon dioxide, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (that’s too long for 23 letters), CFCs, HCFCs, Halons…

Another thing that stupid George should have done was highlight the entries where the grid size was too small for the ansewr.  I had noted that FLOODWATER intersected with FOOTIE, but wasn’t sure why there were six more instead of two more entries that seemed too long.

My extra letters were almost complete – S?METHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES and WE NEED TO ?EE A DOWNTURN A? TEN.  But neither were helping much.

GROWTH IN… HUM.. AN… – aaah I’m barking half-way up the wrong tree – it’s GROWTH IN HUMAN POPULATION!  I was so obsessed on the atmosphere that I missed the obvious sticking straight out at me.

So what’s going to happen if we have too many people – we run out of FOOD and WATER – that explains what’s going on with the intersections of 22 and 29, and 27 and 5.  Take FOOD out of FOO-OOD and each answer is left with an O, similarly with TWA-TTER (which as  I write it now looks like an internet repository where you can upload dirty flashes).  GFU-GEL means no FUEL.  And I still haven’t solved 5 across so who knows what goes there.

I’m very close, but still stuck… I can see that POPULATION needs to be reversed so that POPULATION goes down instead of up – and that makes new real words along the right hand side.  That’s a nice touch.  Still got to figure out what is going on with the intersection of 5 and 7, and that name.  SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES?

Since we make real words with the new 10 down, maybe we make real words with the new 19 across… that means the first letter has to stay an M.  The second could only be E or A, the third T,L,S,T,Y.  MAL… THUS?  HONES is a real word, as is GIDDUP.  To the Internet!

I had never heard of MALTHUS, but apparently he said if we were going to keep on having babies, then we’ll run out of WATER(check), FOOD(check), FUEL(check) and FODDER(not check).  I can’t make FODDER out of SPECT.  SPEC-IES looks a bit more probable… a check on words that go G-TTIES produces GUTTIES which is an old golf ball.  Huzzah!

My working grid for Listener Crossword 4143,

Hoo boy there’s a fair bit of scribble on there trying to get the thematic bits to work.  But it all does work, and it makes for a very nice read… here’s a cleaned-up, substituted and highlighted version.

My final grid for Listener Crossword 4143, The Bottom Line by Charybdis

Ummm, well at least we’re on the top of the curve?

Charybdis did not let me down with a really fun grid of thematic stuff, a challenge that could be overcome, and a chance to learn something completely new.  And I think I can claim this one as a Victory to George!

2011 tally:  George 20, Listener 6.  Current streak:  George 3

There’s a separate post about it just below this, but I’m going to put in an appearance (and possibly do some sort of performance) at the “All-England” 3D crossword cup in Cheltenham on August 6th.  Hope to meet a few of you readers and commenters there.  I’m splitting my time in England between London and Leeds, so if you want to grab a pint and have a laugh somewhere, let me know.

Feel free to comment below, and see you next Friday, Friday, Friday for Location, Location, Location with Shackleton, Shackleton, Shackleton


2 Responses

  1. Is it just me? I saw it as an exhortation to lose weight! “GROW THIN, HUMAN POPULATION”

  2. […] contributions to the Listener have also been fun – it’s been a while since The Bottom Line told us we’ve overpopulated the planet (I’m doing my bit, I have fewer kids than Seth […]

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