In which we go to Brewers to learn about a chugga chugga woo woo

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, where the last few days have been particularly hectic, and I didn’t get a chance to post, and forgot to put up a “there will be a blog post soon” notice.  Today there were more important things to do like watch the World Twenty20 replay of Australia clobbering India.  It’s very weird to see Australia playing on US TV with American ads in between overs.  ESPN hasn’t quite figured out how long there is between overs, though they’re getting better in the Super Eights and I think only two balls of the game were missed (and it seemed Watson and Warner only missed two balls of the Indian bowling).

OK, enough of this, there’s a Listener to talk about.  This is Ifor’s second Listener – last time was an embarrassing end-of-puzzle gaffe in Frightened Catherine where I thought I had gotten it, so time to right the ship.  What have we here – letters to be removed from clues, cryptic representations in the grid and a connection joining them.  Looks like down clues are normal.

Which meant an abandonment of the usual protocol, and a start on 1 down.

There is a 1 down and it’s a gentle subtraction SEPARATION-RAN= OPIATES so a pass on the brand new “1 down when 1 across could be thematic” test.  That means 1 across could have the RAN unnecessary and start with O(over).  playing with anagrams containing O+CHANCE produces OROBANCHACEAE which works with RAN removed, so we’re doubly away.

Having the long entry across the top early helped a lot, and I also saw the MONOCOTYLEDON anagram at the bottom (the same word appeared in a Times Jumbo a few weeks ago), so this grid started filling from the top and bottom towards the middle.   First find was APTERAL as a “no definition” clue, and that most of the across clues seemed to need something removed, the only few that stood out as not having removed letters were LOGE, OIL, STREESS and EMEU.

I couldn’t make anything out of the removed letters, but L on DON stuck out at the bottom of the grid as a possible finishing or starting line.  I circled all the answers where I knew there were removed letters – a little staring at the area near LonDON using the circled entries showed me FLYING.  FLYING DUTCHMAN?  The preamble says Brewers could be recommended, so to Brewers I go – under FLYING there is FLYING DUTCHMAN and also FLYING SCOTSMAN – a train line between LONDON and EDINBURGH!  So if I can find an ED in BURGH I’m good – and there it is, up the top, along with the rest of FLYING SCOTSMAN.

One little tricky bit – there were two possibilities for the first S in SCOTSMAN – did it pass through DISCS or SET.  SET was one of those close I didn’t actually solve, since I got the three down answers that contribute to it before looking at the clue.  A trip to Chambers and a SET can be a cutting, so there’s no removed letters and the answer has to pass through DISCS (on my working copy, both are shaded).

The last part of the Brewers section on the Flying Scotsman gives the engine number 4472 – so it’s LNER that is the indicator clue, and the other undefined entries – 44 across, and 7 and 2 down.

My working grid for Listener 4206 - A1 by Ifor

On Sunday morning then I had a completed grid, and everything that was required for submission – but I’m still not 750% happy – I didn’t work out what was the message in the removed letters, nor do I know what had to be removed from 13 across to get the answer.  On the other hand, I do get the title – the A1 also goes from London to Edinburgh.  So watch me now check the answer and find out that I’m wrong – but I believe I can call this a Victory to George… let’s go check.

Everything appears to be in order!  And I was overthinking the letters, I was trying to treat the letters thematically to get new words, not just join them together to make Scots names – they’re all sitting there on the right of my scan.

Woohoo – that was a lot of fun Ifor, sorry if I didn’t get everything, but it appears I got enough to squeak by here.

2012 tally:  28-1-6

Feel free to criticize my inability to post promptly or my lack of observance in finding those names, and see you next week (I’ll try for Friday this time) when Ferret will send us Loco!

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One Response

  1. […] time!  This is Ifor’s third Listener, last year we had A1 with the Flying Scotsman which was a pretty speedy solve, needing a bit of poking around in […]

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