A column about columns (in three column form?)

Welcome back to George versus the Listener, for the first time powered by Mac.  My old PC is having problems so I’m temporarily working on a Mac with a HUGE screen.   It’s also very bright, which is something we don’t have in common.

This week is Pointer – who we first met last year with Double Devilry, the first time I’d tried a Printer’s Devilry crossword, and I turned out to be better at it than I thought – to the point that my first PD clue got a HC in last year’s Azed comp!

This time we’ve got a curious beast – all clues are normal, so presumably there’s real words all over the place.  Four unclued entries and a few things to find.

Sounds like we could be in for a more gentle start!  And the 1 across test shows it – CAN in VAT for VACANT.  Fun clue!  Normality was resumed, as when this Listener came off the printer I was on my way to the usual bar for a pub solve.

I made pretty steady progress on this one – the left hand side of the grid filled up pretty quickly, and it looked like the long unclued entry was going to be CORINTHIAN, which would fit with the Vs in the title.  The one on the bottom looked like CAPITALS.  So I was thinking maybe we were looking for capitals of ancient Greece?

That wasn’t helping much at all, but the Greek theme continued with Ionic and Doric completing my unclued entries.  I finished bar solving time with an almost full grid, four unclued entries in and a plan to go look up capitals later.

Well, well, well – the things we learn… CAPITALS are the thingys on top of Greek columns, and there’s three types of them.  I saw CANTHUS as something that might be worth looking up, of course Google asked me if I really meant to look up ACANTHUS, which I did, thank you Google, and Chambers fills me in on the rest – ACANTHUS is the same shape as a CORINTHIAN CAPITAL.  And it’s right on top of the C!  Similarly ECHINUS works for the DORIC and the handy dandy Chambers search tool pops up VOLUTOID or VOLUTION for the shape of the IONIC CAPITAL.  And there’s a V right on top of IONIC.  And an O next to it.  No L in sight.

There’s a message…  maybe that will help.  First letters of clues don’t mean anything… OHHH – but there’s capital letters in some of the clue (that’s a sneaky trick, by starting 14 down with a lowercase letter).  CONSTRUCT EIGHT QUADRANT ARCS STARTING AT THE TOP OF COLUMN.

Took a little finding – but if you use quarter circles getting progressively larger, you can spell out VOLUTION!

Nifty trick, and I learned something today!  Here’s a non-highlighted, but spirally grid

My grid for Listener 4159, Crovvword by Pointer

This was a fine piece of construction and had some eye-opening moments.  What I liked the most was how the theme unravelled itself – it was nowhere near in my range of knowledge at the start, but everything was get-at-able.

Thanks, Pointer!  And I’m going to call this one a Victory to George!

2011 tally:  George 34, Listener 8.  Current streak:  George 8

Feel free to leave comments below, and see you next week when Calmac gauges our stress levels.

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