A Listener so nice, I had to do it twice!

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, the chronicle of one man’s descent into cruciverbal insanity.

This week is some form of sequel – More Collusion.  The original Collusion was a particular low point in the original blog. and the setter The Magpie appears to be a conglomeration of Mr. Magoo and Pieman – I’ve not tried a Mr Magoo listener, but Pieman has beaten me soundly twice.  So I was really apprehensive when I was the title and setter.  There’s four steps to get to the solution and extra letters in every clue (with the new twist that the extra letters do not change the solution).

Well Listener 4148 appeared the day before I left for my trip to the UK, so I printed it off and saved it for the trip.  I started it on the plane from Chicago to London with just Bradfords.  I didn’t get very far tired and pretty drunk on that flight, but then I had a train to Leeds where I had a charger for my laptop, so I had Bradfords.

I was surprised that after my previous difficulty with The Magpie, that I wound up with a complete grid near the end of my train journey.  I remember really liking the clue for ELOINER (one of those reverse engineering clues) and LATERAL/BALL being the last pairing in.

And then I lost the grid.  Either I left it on the train, or I left it at my friend’s place in Leeds.  When I got on the train to Cheltenham I thought I’d have a go at the next step but there was no Listener to do.

And so I let it slide until I got back to the US.

The second time around, it only took me about an hour to remember the words in the grid.  I thought it was amusing that I couldn’t write everything straight back in.  The second time around it was LATERAL/SEREIN that were the last in.

My initial grid for Listener 4148, More Collusion by The Magpie

Grid v1

Most of the extra letters were pretty straightforward, and I guessed with 35 letters to be replaced we’d be looking at a 7×5 or a 5×7 rectangle.  If it’s in the center then the 5×7 is looking good with FORAGE becoming EATAGE… woohoo – the rest of the extra letters appear to fit quite nicely in to make new words.

My grid after replacement of extra letters

Let's put the extra letters in

Entering those extra letters causes THINL to appear which is suspiciously close to THINK and would make INLIER into INKIER.  The final step is clear – GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE can be made by changing a few letters in the grid.. however there’s two problems here, it only requires modifying six words, and there’s two non-words in the grid (EDGA and TENK).

Now you would have thought I might have spotted the obvious at this point, but I was convinced that the other two that needed to be changed were 1 across and 33 across and that maybe they would be modified to be the same word.  I banged away at this assumption for a good half hour before realizing that there was a better option – IDEE and PARE turn those two into real words.

My final grid for Listener crossword 4148, More Collusion by The Magpie

Sometimes not-so-great minds can get there too

I do believe I may have a victory over The Magpie here… this was (to me) far far easier than the first Collusion, but I rather liked the replacement of the slab in the middle and the ending.

2011 tally:  George 25, Listener 6.  Current streak:  George 8

Feel free to leave comments below and we’ll see you next week when Nod puts us in a toga.

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One Response

  1. Either you are getting better or I’m getting worse, George – that’s two in a row you’ve solved which defeated me. Probably a mixture of both. At least I’m still a bit faster than you with the Times cryptic, but that probably won’t last either. Congratulations!

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