The week I ate some reels

Welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword – I’m not sure this is going to be a very long post, I’m a little under the weather.  However it’s time to bounce back after the disaster that was last week.  It’s a new setter or newdonym (I got an email tip as to who Triple was, but I’m not sure if Triple is going public).

Interesting idea – DLM with extra letters and all of the clues in the format of dictionary entries except for eight that are normal clues but still in the form of dictionary entries.  Eightsome reel grid, which means that there’s a lot of checked letters.  My first thought was that this was going to take far longer to set than to solve (yes, I know all crosswords are like that but this one might top out the averages)!

Well, the key to eightsome reels is to get some side by side answers, so let’s get cracking.

There is a 1 across, and ARENARIA stood out at the end of the clue – a trip to Chambers and it’s SANDWORT, which is hiding there.  Hmmm… and this means the start of the clue is irrelevant.  We’re going to have a lot of extra words here, aren’t we?

Well 1 is beside 2 and 7, but neither of them are yielding anything, so back we go – 5 looks like GANGSTER – but 4, 6 and 11 aren’t yielding anything useful yet.  Oh great – you know with this sort of crossword I think you can get a third of the clues out but still have an empty grid.  Is there going to be a starting point?

Fortunately it was in the very last clue – I’d seen TEA CAKES for 30, and there was VERRUCAS or VERRUCAE – though to fit it would have to be VERRUCAE.  This means 35 has to have a C-R or R-C somewhere.  Fortunately there’s only two C’s in the clue and BRUCHIDS works for BEETLES so we’re off – at least with every other letter in the bottom row.  It was KANARESE that confirmed the positions of the not-diagonal elements.

I’ll admit I don’t think I took the optimal path to a solution.  I took it to be that most clues were DLM, and started feeding in 9-character strings including letters I’d confirmed into Quinapalus (useful for getting KACHINAS and RANARIAN amongst others), and it was the normal clues that I finished last.  But finally we have a completed grid…

My working grid for Listener 4204, Cyclopaedia by Triple


Time is running short, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got this one, but it did not come quickly – it wasn’t in the mail until Thursday, so I’ll tentatively call it a Victory to George!

2012 tally:  26-1-6

Feel free to criticize my method of finding answers, and see you next week when we find out whodunnit with Gos.


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