Spot the SI units!

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword… my friend Karen caught me doing some angry stand-up this week and took this awesome photo.

George angrying the microphone

Liveish at Athena's, Sept 21, 2011

Real comedians have beer beside them at all times.  And write columns about sometimes being able to do crosswords or something… this week it’s Brimstone – now I thought Brimstone sounded familiar, and I was kind of surprised to find that Brimstone’s other Listener on George v The Listener was a numerical one – Base Jog, based on Hank Aaron catching Babe Ruth’s home-run record (sinec broken by Barry Bonds, and likely to be reached by Alex Rodriguez or Albert Pujols in the next few years).  So Brimstone is a double-threat number and letter person.

This one sounded involved from the start – 15 modifications, 14 answers in circles, 17 extra words, 5 modifications, and then a bonus modification for doubles.

I discovered something pretty nifty lately, now that I have a smartass phone, I can get to Word Wizards and OneLook on my phone pretty easily.  So even though I wasn’t near a dictionary when I started this one, I saw the possible wordplay for 1ac to be PICAMAR and could look it up.  PICAMAR for the 1 across test win!  Now is it modified or not?  The next answer is definitely modified, there’s more spaces in the grid than the enumeration.  Hmmm…

Maybe we shouldn’t have started at 1 across.  There’s a bunch of circles in the Florida corner, maybe that’s a better place to start?

And so it was with LAU,F that we actually got the grid started.  The Florida corner proved pretty open to solving, and our first modification came clear, FLUX becoming FLEA.  That works with the extra word INSECT at 39.  So some sort of modification of part of the answer, sometimes adding letters, sometimes not… hmm…

I got seven of the circled letters in the first session but couldn’t make any recognizable characters out of them.

Well, a few days in I was asked to stand in for my day-job boss at a meeting I knew was going to be interminably dull, so I sneaked the Listener in with me.  You know those meetings where the point could be put across in about seven seconds (We have this seminar series already in place, we’d like you to support it), but the presenter is so worried we might not understand him so he includes an hour of explanation… I had S-ERE- for 32 across, and ERGO as the answer… I’d found one of the extra words to be SOUND-SYSTEM… STEREO – replace ERG with STERE.

The penny didn’t just drop; it practically flattened me.  I went “aaaah, I get it” just a little too loudly.  It encouraged the speaker to nod in excitement and tell the group even more why it was important to listen to retired radiologists.  That gave me time to work it all out.

MEASURE FOR MEASURE and we’re replacing units of measurements… in went a bunch of new words (GRAMMAR, PINCH, LAMINA).  I was a unit substituting machine!

Now I should have slowed down and kept a record of everything, because it wasn’t too long before I got completely lost as to what I had replaced and what I hadn’t, and I still had about six entries that were open.  When the going gets tough, the tough make a list.

solving notes for Listener 4153List good!  List helpful!  List tell me that 15 across and 7 down had to be normal entries – I had thought FITCH was an altered word, but it wasn’t, a trip to Chambers tells me FITCH is POLECAT which I’d already put in at 11 without thinking.  Thank you list! In goes INTIMAL and INIA.

Now to the endgame… I still didn’t have an answer for 36 down, but TUNIS is a CAPITAL and TUN is a measure.  That leaves BELCH which I’d already noted as having BEL in it as a candidate for changing (the reason it took so long to get 15 across).  Replace BEL by MIL and we get MILCH (MILKY) and NODI (COMPLICATIONS).

My grid for Listener 4153 - Rythym for a Dance by Brimstone

And I think we are done!  There’s so much in this that I feel a little awkward about not figuring out…

– the original answer to 36 down

– I guess PINTER in 27 is the result of a change, but I can’t see what it was changed from… somethingER

-Similarly I think there’s a changed word in 13 down but I can’t see it – all the letters are checked.

So a cheap victory but a victory nonetheless to George!  Thanks for a fun crossword Brimstone, I liked how almost every word and answer ended up being a part of the theme.

2011 tally:  George 28, Listener 8.  Current streak:  George 2

Feel free to leave comments below and see you next week when Dilwitch attempts to downsize us.

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