Thanks for stopping by, and apologies if you came earlier and were disappointed that my occasional timeliness was not replicated.  Today’s edition of George v Listener is coming to you from Asheville Regional Airport and I am a little peeved that I had to leave before this week’s Listener appeared online (is it a numerical one this week?), so I won’t be able to doodle with it on my upcoming flights.  Oh well…

This week we have Shackleton, who we have encountered before in Sine Qua Non, which I got, although I brought umbrage from a reader by calling Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony a “Piano-y thing”, and in “Much Ado About Nothing” where I got absolutely nowhere.  Shackleton is also a part of the Mango cult whose only offering I could not crack. So the tables are tilted slightly to the Shackleton side.  Let’s see what we have here…

By the way, airports usually have excellent cell phone reception, so I wonder why it is that people have to shout into their blueteeth like they are communicating by two tin cans and a piece of string.  The person sitting next to me has just given me ear-splitting details of her daughter’s operation (I wish her a speedy recovery) and now is sorting through the scarves she has in her suitcase.  I can only assume she’s going to a scarf convention or they are emergency bandages in case her daughter emerges at the other end of the flight covered in blood.

Carte Blancheness!  A cell with two letters, definition misprints, places, things, looks like this one is going to be a slog.  I believe I started this over lunch at a BBQ place where the “staff” were trying to set a new level for ignoring customers.  At least they were leaving me alone.

There is a 1 across and it looks like it goes right across the top row, but I couldn’t make it out at the start.  Nor 13 across, 14 across and the first one I can get is ARIA.  Not much help.. it would be nice to get one of the 13-letter ones as it looks like they cover the entire perimeter.  51 across is a gentle anagram for SALES ENGINEER, similarly 12 down for TORQUE SPANNER.  It’s a start, I guess… time to work from the bottom up, maybe?

OK – so I went to the down clues to look for ones that would intersect with my SALES ENGINEER and I had the most amazing revelation… the few I could solve and the most obvious words for misprints looked like they were ?ORO?I?BAHAV?NA.  From my earlier time in Brazil, these sprung out at me as names of soccer teams I saw playing while I was in bars (there was a small amount of time in Brazil when I wasn’t in a bar, but that is irrelevant).

AHA!  Brazilian soccer can only mean this is all about the World Cup in 2014(?) and we’re going to have names of Brazilian soccer teams and maybe a flag and blocked-off squares that spell FIFA and you’re a very smart cookie for working all of this out so early George, job done!

Still got a lot of clues to solve, so let’s grab a wikipedia page with lists of Brazilian teams and away we go…

Still got a lot of clues to solve and can’t seem to make team names out of these extra letters…

Maybe I should think about this grid.  There’s a LOT of clues – 12 of the 13 entries on the top row have down components.  And by the enumeration I think I found only two possibilities to arrange those across answers – the one looking the most promising had the answers completely filling the 3rd, 5th, 9th and 11th rows, and I had answers for a few of those.  It was slotting in the ones that I had found that gave me the rest of the perimeter – TAPE TRANSPORT and TARMASALATAS and was likely to have the correct grid.

Announcing a first – it appears my first flight is going to be on time!  The gate attendant is lecturing people waiting about how those suitcases on rollers flat out do not fit in the overhead bins on the little prop planes that fly to Asheville regional airport.  Looks like I’m one of three who are going to actually get to take their bag and keep it with them.  George for the win!

OK… at this point I have about two-thirds of a grid, and two of the isolated squares found.  And twice it appears BAR appears in the misprints.  Surely the ones from 38ac-5d say THE RITZ BAR PARIS, which isn’t actually a Brazilian soccer team (I checked).

So that was a waste of a massive amount of time and research.  A googly search of the Ritz Bar opens up the answer before me – Hemingway liked to drink there.  He was also fond of SLOPPY JOE’S BAR KEY WEST and EL FLORIDICA HAVANA.  And as in a trick that I totally missed a while back (the Martin Luther King Jr. one) we can make out HEMINGWAY from the bar pattern in the grid, if we make that central cell (overlapping ARAGORN and LANOLIN) in the shape of an N (by the way, doesn’t this break the 180 degree symmetry?).  I’ve scanned my working grid where I haven’t made that change.  Hemingway died around this time of year in 1961 which circles that N.  Great piece of symmetry-spotting, Shackleton!

With the right route worked out, and the misprints sorted out, the last few clues came together and I had a completed grid, and the letters needed to complete FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS (the H doing double-duty) in the blocked-off squares.

My grid for Listener Crossword 4144, Location! Location! Location! by Shackleton

The N in HEMINGWAY can be made from the middle square

Amazing grid and a nice tribute.  I bet people more keyed in to the theme finished this considerably more easily than I did.  I wonder if on my passing I’d merit a similar tribute serenading the Great Britain Hotel, Melbourne; The Good Woman Inn, Hobart; Oasis, Halifax; The Thirsty Camel, Hamilton and Asheville Pizza and Brewing.  Probably not, and those establishments would be embarrassed to know how much time I spent there (but will be OK with the money I spent).

AWESOME!!! You see the greatest things at airports – the gate agent just called for a passenger to raise his hand.  When said passenger did, she went over to him and said “You’re not a 14-year old boy.  What’s going on here?”.  Apparently he had been checked in as an unaccompanied minor.  He does have a fishing rod, maybe the boy is in there.

Victory to George!  And we’re boarding so I’d better wind it up here.

2011 tally:  George 21, Listener 6.  Current streak George 4.

Feel free to leave comments below, check back for George V Azed when I get to Charlotte or Washington, and see you next week to see what we can keep with Phi.

P.S. Just overheard being said to a gate agent “I shouldn’t have to defend myself when you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about”.  I love air travel!


3 Responses

  1. if the middle “N” is upper case, doesn’t that preserve the symmetry?

  2. […] there’s been three Shackletons in this humble blog.  The last one was the Hemingway-themed Location, Location, Location (which by a weird coincidence I also blogged about at this very airport), the Beethoven […]

  3. […] blew The Missing Vowels Round by not shading in the appropriate colours.  Before that was Location, Location, Location, with some Hemingway in the bars in the grid, which I got, Luddie V in Sine Qua Non (got it), but […]

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