The Thin Black Duke

Welcome back to George vs the Listener, for the last puzzle of 2011 and the fourth year of George vs Listener.  As we move into Year 5, the next challenge is how close can I get to actually all-complete, including prompt submission.  So this is the last of the legacy puzzles, and I must admit, when  I wasn’t finished with it in the first week, it went on to the back-burner while I tackled the first puzzle of 2012.

We close out the year with Mango… as a team we’ve only met Mango once before in City Tour, which was a case where I got most of the clues but couldn’t crack the code, so I was apprehensive here.

Letters are dropping out, moving left or right, and it looks like there’s nine modified answers.  So mostly real words, that’s a relief.

More random solving locations – I had a recall on the air bags in my car, so I was stuck for a few hours in the middle of nowhere, but there was a chinese place I remember being OK within walking distance.  How my copy managed to stay really clean while I was solving eating Chinese food is a mystery, but I’ll roll with it. (hi-hat)

There is a 1 acorss, but I have no idea about it.  There’s a 7 across and I like the Viz reference, but I can’t figure it out either.  12 looks like it should be a moving T but I couldn’t see the answer straight away.  Nothing doing with 13 – it wasn’t until 14 across that something twigged and in went ETERNAL with a O dropping.  Woohoo!  We’re away.

This started a mini solving frenzy at the top right, with NARTJIE, the regular Azed word YRENT, and PRECLUDE going in.

I had a really hard time the rest of the way through the words and there were only scattered words here and there, and a lot of suspicions as to which letters might move, but no real inroads into the grid.

I had SCRABBLE with a question mark at 42 across, which did fit with CARIB, but didn’t seem to fit with GLITTER at 26 down.  Of the seven clues the only I’d solved was TRANQUILLIZE, but I didn’t have any checking letters.

For well over a week this one sat at less than a third full, and glances back at it yielding absolutely nothing.

The last Listener of the Year has been a problem lately… couldn’t get Great Expectations at the end of 2010, couldn’t make that dead wren at the end of 2009, and had an almost empty grid on Without Bars in 2008.  So I was bitterly determined to get a year-ender done, and crack that Mango (since part of Mango had already friended me on facebook and was threatening… threatening…).

Oh, Chambers Word Wizards… even though you warn me you are out of date and I should go to your new site, you are at least nice enough to tell me that D??EE????G??? is DUKE ELLINGTON


IT DON’T MEAN A THING IF IT AIN’T GOT THAT SWING looks like a possibility from the letters, and a search of Duke Ellington quotes brings up “Playing bop is like playing scrabble with the vowels removed”.  If I took those vowels out of TRANQUILLIZE and treat 9 down as a straight anagram then TRNQLLZ will work with NTRFLNT.

Two hours of poking, prodding and banging later, I think I’ve got it.  It helped noticing that the seven modified form a pattern (knowing what was affected and what wasn’t affected was crucial in working out those last few clues).  I actually went to a library to look at ODQ to find the version in there is PLAYING BOP IS LIKE SCRABBLE WITH ALL THE VOWELS MISSING.  Wow, that was different to the popular version on the internets!

My grid for Listener 4170 - Aristocat by Mango

do wop do wop de wop do wop do wop doooo

I wonder how much Scrabble Duke Ellington played?  I have a version of it on my wankerphone – invitations to play are often graciously accepted.

Finally!  Victory over Mango and Victory over the last Listener of the year.  Hopefully a good sign moving into the new one.

2011 tally:  George 40, Listener 13.  Current streak:  George 2.

Check back later for a year in review, a new George vs the Azed clueing competition, and next week see how long the all-correct streak for 2012 goes as we swap fruit recipes with Dipper.


3 Responses

  1. Nice one! So it’s George 1, Mango 0 for 2011

    We’ll get you one day.

    Seth Mould

  2. Thanks for checking in, one appendage of Mango. Maybe you’ll be the one (or part of a team) to break my all-correct run in 2012 (or maybe it’ll be Dipper… my money’s on Dipper).

  3. […] figure out what made my submission incorrect.  Before that was one I did actually complete, Aristocrat, and before that City Tour where I wiped out.  So Mango is up on this […]

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