She stalks by midnight

OK, that wasn’t a great attempt at a noir title, so I’ll leave it to the professionals.  Welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword, where what was going to be a Big Year is going… well about the same as last year, we’ll see if there’s a charge towards the end.

This week is Gos – a name we haven’t seen for a while.  Last Listener (and only one to make it to George vs the Listener) was Huge Ruin (remote) with the theme of movies based on Poe works – it was fun and I solved it.  I don’t remember the original Murder Mystery, but it appears Gos has a sinister bent.  So what do we have – jumbles, normal clues, a name twice unclued and holy shit look at the size of that grid!  I couldn’t believe it was 15×15 – I regularly do three 15×15 crosswords a day (Times, Independent, Guardian), but seeing a barred grid that size looks ginormous.  Looky all those clues too.  Well, they’re normal, so away we go.

I should note that I was back in familiar territory here, the bar stool being heavily occupied for the first solve.  There is a 1 across and it’s a 13-letter enzyme with an exam paper in the middle so that would be TRANSCRIPTASE.  I hope it’s not jumbled, that would take a lot of jumbling.  ALISMA, CTENE and SIDERITE suggest that it’s not.

It was a scratchy grid fill in the first sitting – it looked like the long entries, TRANSCRIPTASE and WYNDHAM THEATRE were not jumbled – in fact I was having a hard time finding anything that could be jumbled.  I couldn’t make anything of the places where the names went and I was at rather a stalemate.

Back home, and Google activated, I saw the hidden OMELETTE and with -OH-D in place I took a punt on googling “mystery writer john d” which google filled out for me to be JOHN DICKSON CARTER, who also wrote under the name CARTER DICKSON.  That will do nicely google – and his Wikipedia page has a nice chunky list of books, along with his two detectives, FELL and MERRIVALE – and MERRIVALE appears to be the only one with a nickname – H M (that’s small).

Back to the grid fill in earnest and I’ve thus far only found one jumble – MOAN doesn’t fit with ARNAOUT.  Hmmm… but there’s a few blank spots in the left hand side where HEST doesn’t seem to want to fit with anything else.

Aaaaah… but MOAN has an M in it, and HEST has an H in it… could that be H M?  So the title is somewhere around there – on the list of Merrivale novels on Wikipedia, a few of them have different titles between the UK and the US – one is NINE AND DEATH MAKES TEN – I’d already seen the TEN, and there’s DEATH reversed underneath it – it’s a box/coffin/box.

CUBLESS and SCREAMER are confirmed by finishing the title of the book and I believe we are done!

Oh… except for 14 across and 15 down.  Bugger… those took me a while to sort though, for a while I was convinced 14 was one of the jumbled ones.  LEYS came first, and then DIRTILY, but would you believe with this huge grid, I had already printed off the fresh one for submitting before realizing that I’d missed a few?

The scan I took of this one came out unreadable, so I’ll try another one later, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got all this out and it is a Victory to George.  With 98% of the credit going to Mr. Google, I’m afraid.

2012 tally: 27-1-6

Feel free to criticize my methods, and see you next week when Ifor invites us to try a Listener with some A1 steak sauce.



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