Nearly done in by the bible again! At least it wasn’t a disease

Welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword!  Second-last puzzle for 2011 before we start the new, gung-ho, submit submit submit version of 2012.  Our penultimate challenge comes from Monk.  This is the first time a Monk puzzle has made it to the electronic pages of George v Listener, so hi to Monk if you’re looking in.  What’s funny is I know a couple of people who know Monk, who is apparently some sort of local legend in Leeds.  Two visits to Leeds later all I’ve done is heard stories. Maybe third time will be the charm, as I’ve enjoyed Monk’s puzzles in the Independent (and there was one last week) a lot.

So what have we here… wordplay with extra words, a line from an exchange, and all entries bar one need to be modified somehow.  Looks like we’ll be starting in the world of cold-solving!

Based on a suggestion from a few weeks ago – my first thought from the title was to find anagrams of SEASIDE and immediately came up with DISEASE.  So the first guess was that this will be some sort of gene therapy crossword where base pairs have to be transposed.

There is a 1 across and a big win on the 1 across test… with (S)AID,EALS making our first extra letter A.  A quote that begins with A.  That doesn’t narrow it down.

The cold solving section of this was a bit of a slog… IDEALS crossed with IBICES, ARNE, BAIT and SOAVE.  So the I and S were OK, but not sure about the others.  Under that were BROCCOLI and INDISCRETE.  Both I’s and the B in IBICES could work with BROCCOLI.  The S and I in SOAVE works… some letters in place, some in the wrong place, but which?

The breakthrough came rather quickly – after staring at those top right entries for a bit, I went back to the message… A-LT–R-GH–OT-S….  ALL THE RIGHT???  A google check of ALL THE RIGHT turns up “I’m playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order”, which is a quote from Eric Morecambe, which will fit in quite well.

So that means the letters corresponding to notes of the scale mix up  – that makes sense with the checking I’s and S’s, and the rest of the words in the top right can be fitted now.

Now I can see where ERIC MORECAMBE can fit in, but where is ERNIE WISE?  Google and YouTube to the rescue… It’s not ERNIE WISE, it’s ANDRE PREVIN who was the other half of the exchange

And since there’s only one note letter in PREVIN, then that’s the one left alone.  By the way, nice touch in the preamble to say “Necessarily” short.

The hard work done, the rest should be easy…

But it’s not… I had a huge gaping gap in the middle.  It took a lot of bashing away to sort out those last few entries – GRECO-ROMAN, ARROGANCE, CORNED BEEF, ROADSTER, GROCER and DOGBEE in particular, even though I knew the extra wordplay letter.  Some of these were found by WordMatcher searches including a lot of [abcdefg] options.

In the end I was left with only 24 across unsolved, and in trying to sort out the translations, I had it as ASF? and couldn’t come up with anything for it.

Back to the transposing board

I suspected since I had a few other unresolved transpositions I may have done something wrong here.  So time for a fresh grid.  Careful re-writing of the grid convinced me that the other checked letter in 24 across didn’t have to be an F, it could be an E or an F.   ASE.

ESAU!  And it’s a hidden word of all things (I had to google up “Esau seller of right” to learn that ESAU sold his birthright).  Now it all works!

My final grid for Listener 4169, Seaside Shuffle by Monk

Not only biblical but it’s even a hidden word clue! Yikes

This must have been an asolute beast to create and I believe there is no guesswork at all in the transpositions, but you can’t get them until you have every single clue.  What an impressive feat of setting, Monk!  I was so close to giving up, but I’m glad I went back to another grid, and finally got there.

Victory to George!

2011 tally:  George 39, Listener 13.  Current streak, George 1.

Phew… feel free to leave comments below and check back next week as we round out 2012 in George v Listener by challenging Mango’s spelling of Aristocrat.


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