Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.  It’s getting close to the time the next Listener will appear, so let’s just get straight to it, shall we?  Bandmaster time!  There’s been two Bandmaster Listener’s gracing the e-pages of George vs the Listener Crossword – “Not As Mad As It Sounds” with the Bach theme which I got, and “Intimacy” which was a nearly-empty grid.  So what will Duet for one bring?  Extra words and further information.  Shortest preamble ever!  Carte Blanche, but 180 degree symmetry.  No lengths of answers (gulp).

Steady on George, we can do it – there is a , let’s call it 1 across and it’s a nice gentle B(L)ACK which means the last across clue should be also five letters and it is D(ICE)D.

There’s 25 across clues, so the one that was C(something)ED in the middle went in the middle row.  Working back from that it looks like most rows are going to have two words, and one probably has three  Logic!

Follow your instincts – since BLACK,ACES and LAKE would completely fill a row, let’s take a stab at that – similarly so with HAHH,SHED and DICED.  We have a top and a bottom of a grid!  That helped a lot – I’m pretty good at working out these carte blanche grids when I know where things start and where things end.

The removed words were starting to make sense too – REFORM DIAGRAM CLEARING CELLS CONTAINING ATOM…

At this point I remembered we’d seen that trick before…

But as the grid came together, I think I made an actual gasp…

Did Bandmaster really write a grid that had the letters N-Z symmetrically placed, so that when you blacked them out, another crossword grid appears?


No way?

Good thing I have Crossword Compiler!  I put my working grid in, saved it so I could come back later, and blacked out those squares.  A quick-style crossword?  When was the last time I did one of those? I know they don’t take that long, but I’ve never really been big on quick ones.  I think it took me about 20 minutes to blunder through the definitions-only puzzle, but here it is…

The crossword in the middle

And there in the slants is BUY ONE GET ONE FREE – Immediately I thought of BOGOF because you see it on a lot of billboards outside supermarkets here.  I thought it might have been a US-only term, but there it is in Chambers, and on the top left of this grid.

My working grid for Listener 4197, Duet for One by Bandmaster

Like I have a say in things, but I think the competition for that Ascot Gold Cup is OVER!  Once I got started on it, this was impossible to put down – about three hours out of my Sunday afternoon, and it was in the mail on Monday.  Everything was great about this crossword – it was challenging but rewarding, the clues were excellent, the surfaces made sense before and after the extra words were removed.  Just wow.

Thanks Bandmaster, this is going to be a hard one to top.  Hope everyone else had as much fun as me with it!

I’m going to call this one a Victory for George!

2012 tally:  22-0-4

I’ll be posting from out of town again next week, so feel free to leave comments about how I should have made more fun of this Listener, or just check back next week when Pilcrow gives us a Listener that fit on a single page.


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