In which we do a terrible job of drawing a cricket bat in a 1.5cm X 1.5cm square.

Welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword, and we’re getting to the business end of 2011 – good luck to those whose all-corrects are intactful!  Im bumbling along as usual, but next year I’m going to try something a little different for the blog.  I’m going to break the battles up into wins/losses/pushes.  A win will only be a win if it’s a bona-fide win as approved by a cottage in St Albans.  A push will be a close but no cigar (like with Brock a few weeks ago).  52-0-0 is a dream, but let’s see how it goes.

Nibor this week!  Now one thing struck me as funny looking at Nibor’s page on the Listener website – a puzzle from 1980 called “Enigma Variations” that appeared to require solvers to use an Enigma code to get to the answers.  There were 22 correct entries – and three prizes!  Man those are good odds.

We’ve only met Nibor once, in an homage to Haydn which I completed (after a run of failures).  So what have we here… big grid, square in the middle, lots of clues.  Extra words galore spelling out something, and some clashes.

This, by the way, is a theme I rather like – taking lines of verse literally.  So I was quite happy to get started on it.

Of all the strange places to start a crossword, I began this one in the YMCA.  A friend of mine had a digital pedometer and was in some fitness challenge where the pedometer (which is apparently not a device for measuring pedophiles) records how much she walked, and then uploaded it automatically to some site which then clocks rewards for being a healthy and fit worker.  The internet is in your feet now!  Anyway, hers wasn’t working, so while she was donating blood, I took her pedometer to the Y to reload the software.  So while sweaty unmentionables worked out and this little foot device of evil updated its operating system, I sipped coffee and got to unravelling.

Clues started unravelling pretty well – mostly on the right hand side of the grid.  Unfortunately as I write this up I only have the second page with my notes, so I can’t remember if there was a 1 across challenge met or not.  Oh yes, I do – I remember thinking it looked like BREAK but I couldn’t figure out why.

WINK and another WINK started forming from the extra words – aahh, we’re in twinkle twinkle little star territory and I’m going to have to draw a cute little star, and it appeared there in my almost complete right-hand side was a TWINKLE.   How festive!  Nope, that wasn’t what Nibor had in store at all – as TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE was easily removed from the across clues, but STAR was not to be.  It looked like it should be TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE B……

Twinkle twinkle little bastard?

Back at home, and it was Wikipedia of all things that sorted me out.  The wikipedia page for Twinkle Twinkle Little Start includes Lewis Carroll’s “Twinkle twinkle little bat” as a variation.  And there on the bottom row is LIKE and TEA-TRAY surrounded by SKY (if the misprints work out).

Now yet again I thought I was home and hosed, but this time you artophiles can look down on me because my very very very last entry was LE DOUANIER.   I know it was an anagram, but I googled the hell out of LEO DRANIEU, LEON RADIEU and a host of other likely looking anagram names before finding out that it was Rousseau’s nickname we were looking for.

I’d found one TWINKLE so that meant there was another left to find.  Probably in the shape of a bat or in the shape of a star?  There’s a T and W next to each other in the far left, and the rest of INKLE meeting up with my other TWINKLE… So I wonder if it’s meant to be a shooting star?  I’m torn on this one – if it’s a shooting star I think I should highlight the T that is to the lower left of the W, but there’s also a T right next to the W.  I wonder if both will be accepted?

So three solving sessions and one extremely ordinary picture of what is meant to be a cricket bat later…

My grid for LIstener 4165 Variations on a Theme by Nibor

And I believe we have a Victory to George.  Had a lot of fun with this one, Nibor, but there’s a few things worrying me…

– which T did you mean us to shade (unless I’m way off with this one)

– I’m surprised you got it past the editors with two non-Chambers words + a bunch of proper names.  This is mostly sour grapes because apart from Eritrea, I had no idea of the others.

– You’re going to get some pretty crummy-looking bats in that little box.

But still a good laugh!

2011 tally:  George 38, Listener 10.  Current streak:  George 3.

I’m travelling again next week so there may be a bit of a delay in George v the Listener, but check back later to see if anything happened in the most recent Azed comp, and then Shadenfreude’s briefs will make an appearance.

OK, posted this and checked the answers and I made two complete bonerhead mistakes.  Of course it’s the musical notes for “Twinkle twinkle” and I have highlighted the wrong T, and it’s RERUN not RERAN.  FAIL!

2011 tally:  Listener 11, George 30.  Current streak:  Listener 1.


2 Responses

  1. Your claim to have found TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE B in the first letters of the extra words seems to call into question whether you really solved the puzzle at all, but I’m sure it’s just due to memory failure and the missing first page of notes (I can barely remember sovling this puzzle either).

    • You´re right there – my usual method of writing this is to scan the grid, then have it with me while i write up the notes, but I´d already sent it to recycling. Must have been another phrase in the lines that gave it away, I know I had the verse before solving half of the clues.

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