Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword. Happy Good Friday everyone – being a clueless heathen I didn’t really catch on to Easter being so close until I was at the grocery store yesterday and there were chocolate eggs in the aisle where I normally buy toothpaste. I guess something has to be moved to accommodate evil chocolate bunnies. Last week was rather a fall to earth, eh? (or at least not a fall to the bottom of the Thames). I’m one letter and one missed piece of highlighting away from all-correct, so maybe there’s hope yet.
This week it’s Franc. Franc has been missing a while – early in 2010 there was the incredibly fun Five Dots (Galileo and the moons) a circular one with a circus theme with Three Rings, both of which I completed, but was stretched to the limit in the latter, and before that, Franc may have made internet history with Lots to Find, being the first time I scanned in a grid (about half complete) and threw it on the blog for all to see. This tradition has been carried on by bloggers with far neater handwriting than I.
What have we here – Sinecure – well that means something that is easy, so it’s got to be a misleading title. Maybe it’s about sines and cures, mathematical oscillating functions and clerics? Ten clashes, a theme and some embellishments and some weird dashed lines. Sounds like mostly real words in the grid and clues are normal. Away we go (to the pub)…
There is a 1 across and a rather fun one it is, with a CO-BRA turning out to be a Government committee as well as the bad guys in GI Joe. And almost immediate finding of a clash, as PINTAIL becomes PINT and we have a P/B clash.
I think one of the challenges in going from being a regular daily crossword solver to a Listener solver is these economical clues – look at the number of 3-5 word clues in this puzzle! Every word counts, and must be carefully looked at – once I got over that hurdle I’m starting to enjoy these economical clues puzzles more, and Franc was right on my wavelength here. With the CO-BRA, BAD-GED, A(VEN)GE, OBE-AH, PAR-KY and (C)ONCER(T) I found the grid filled up as quickly as my pint mug emptied, and I headed out with an almost full grid, a note that there was PINK hiding in a corner, and I’d found 7 of my 10 clashes.
Back home it was research time – I tried to get the rest of the grid before figuring out the theme. It was one of those pesky little clues that was the last one in – CANT for ship’s timber. These clashes were well hidden, particularly in the places where two of them were next to each other.
Here we have it – a full grid!
I was pretty sure of five of the clashes, having to resolve them to get real words in both across and down, so that left five to play with. I fed the possible letters into Quinapaulus (where would we be without it!) and was rewarded with BATTENBERG as a possibility. To Chambers – a kind of cake usually made in pink and yellow squares and covered in marzipan. Aaaaaaahhh!! I remember seeing those before (and I don’t like marzipan so not my thing). There it is – A PIECE OF CAKE broken up across the second and third column, and YELLOW from resolving clashes to go with the PINK I’d already found.
I got slightly cheeky email during the week that Franc had not read my blog of Tea Leaves’ puzzl, and the sender was right – I did not have a pink highlighter. I had a yellow one. So mailing of this puzzle had to wait until I went to the highlighter store. I already had a blue, orange and yellow highlighter, so I got a packet that had a pink one, a green one, another blue one and a red one. I should be set for life (or until the ink runs out).
It was in the mail on Monday – a two-session solve and a lot of fun (though I still don’t like marzipan). Franc, I must congratulate you on these clues, which while economical, still all have terrific surfaces. I’m going to claim a Victory to George!
2012 tally: 9-0-2
Feel free to criticize my tastebuds, and see you next week when Ron and I have a contract to be breached.