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Phizzled out – let’s face it

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, and we’re sailing into the sunset of the 2011 battle versus barred-grid beasties.  I don’t think I’ve made much of an improvement this year, so I’ve got to get into some better (or maybe worse) habits for 2012.  As I type this the first puzzle of the year has just appeared, but no peeking yet!

Phiz arrived at an odd time – I was just about ready to take off on a junket to southern climes to have the craziest Christmas ever.  So I printed it off, but didn’t start it until I was on an international flight.  The title and the setter rang a bell – we’ve had two BeRo appearances in George vs the Listener – one based on a T.S. Eliot poem I had to really slog through in Oh Yes It Does, and an utter failure in the word zigzag of Fizz Buzz.  This newer Listener resembles the latter.

3-D grid, wedges, a lot of clues, probably a lot of overlapping letters.

So I’m pretty sure I pegged this early – I looked up “phiz” in Chambers and it gives face – so the fourth grid is probably in the shape of a face.

There’s a 1, across and down I guess have no real meaning here, but it’s a pretty gentle anagram of JATROPHA, so we’re away and a J rather confidently goes into the 1 across cell.

There were a few sessions of sub-zero cold solving, and apart from finding (I think) where JATROPHA and most of MARQUETRY went, I was having a really hard time trying to keep track of these words.  It seemed most of the words required at least two turns.

So here was the position I was left in – I’ve solved most of these clues – the only ones I don’t have are…

4, the first 12, 19, 22, both 26s, both 29s.

You would think that would be enough to start piecing together this grid, but it wasn’t.  At least not for me.  I think having the 26s (or at least that first letter) would help a lot to try to figure out where KITE and BUTEA wound up.

But after hours and hours of lying this on the floor, scribbling letters in all sorts of directions and three extra printed grids, I am no closer to figuring out how this works.

I’ve spotted a huge weakness – I don’t do turns and jumps very well – the knights moves gave me headaches and this (just like Fizz Buzz) was a road map of what.  So just my luck next year every second puzzle will involve hopscotch, clues in knitting patterns, and maybe even the odd boustrophedron or two.  It pains me to say it, but maybe I’m just a linear person.

What I can say is that I enjoyed the clues that I solved, and this did take care of a many hungover mornings on a lilo on a friend’s living room while he was successfully passed out and I wasn’t.  But I have little to show for it, and this is a Victory for BeRo and the Listener crossword.

Though I’m pretty sure there’s a face involved somewhere.

Victory to the Listener!  2011 tally:  Listener 13 (lucky for some), George 38.  Current streak:  Listener 1

Feel free to point out my inability to do jigsaw puzzles below, and see you next week when Monk shuffles (and hopefully deals us in) at the seaside.

so stuck…

Last part

4 Responses

  1. Just read through the solution and I don’t think it would have helped but I had B(UTE)A instead of B(ANI)A. Had the right idea about the face – congrats to those that got it!

  2. […] saw the four little grids and had nightmare flashbacks to BeRo’s puzzle from late last year that I couldn’t get a handle on, but a read of the preamble shows we’re in much milder territory, with answers being either […]

  3. […] The rest of the week flew by with occasional glances to work out the I,T,L,S dilemma (and then what would be 5?  was it K,X,Z or a misprint common to 16 and 26?).  But I’m afraid my feeble brain was getting no further with this one.  Congratulations, Hedgehog – you have stopped a run of me mailing in an entry (correct or incorrect) every week this year, and you’re in the running for the George V Listener Emptiest Grid award (the honor for 2011 belongs to BeRo). […]

  4. […] after the football I had a panic attack.  I have had a mighty struggle with BeRo puzzles – Phiz made it into my hall of fame/shame, Oh Yes It Does made me struggle right to the end, and I got […]

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