Build a bridge out of ‘er! (or dig a tunnel)

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, back on the late posting schedule again after being on top of things for a few weeks – eh, that’s how it goes right?

Merlin time!  I thought there was a more recent Merlin Listener, but it appears we have to go back to 2009 and Motley Collection – where I did so poorly it’s made it to the Hall of Fame/Shame.  Yikes – must try harder this time.

What have we here – a famous puzzle, 29 misprints (a little more than half the clues) in definitions, instructions, location and a name.  The grid contains more thematic stuff, but all real words!  Let’s give it a bash…

There is no 1 across, but there is a 2 across – decapitate GLOSS for LOSS and there’s an S to start with .  OK – instructions start with an S – SIT ON THE GRID?  SHOOT THE GRID?  Maybe too early to think of themes.  Anyway, after seeing OLD SALT and STAY (with a K correction) it looks like we’re not headed for the disaster that was Motley collection.

In fact this was the complete opposite – there weren’t that many strange words in here, and the wordplay was crystal clear – within about two hours I had most of the grid, instructions to SHADE RIVER BLUE.  The location and person took a little more finding, however starting to type in KONIG into Google presents the KONIGSBERG BRIDGE PROBLEM, postulated by EULER.

Yippee – that took care of the bottom right (where instead of DUTCH AUCTIONS, I had DUTCHMAN’S PIPE for a while thanks to trusting  Word Wizards too much, and two and a half hours in, I have a grid.

And a river to shade blue.  The name of the river in the problem was the Pregel, but I can’t find it.  I can see a few bridges – LONDON, PONTOON, TOLL, FOOT, BAY… AUCTION is a type of bridge, and there’s a TUNNEL.  Hmmm…

Ahhh – all the letters in the word RIVER make up the river.  Let’s do some shading – bridges pink, river blue, and see if we can sort out this mess.

working grid for Listener 4209 - city crossing tour by Merlin

Now the original one wasn’t solvable… it would be solveable if there was an even number of bridges, but there’s an odd number.  There’s an odd number here, I’ve got 9.  So it’s still unsolveable.  AUCTION appears to be the odd one out.  I played with this for a little while longer, and then at 1am on Saturday morning, packed it in.

Came back on Sunday to think through this last step – AUCTION and TUNNEL are kind of odd ones out because the letter that crosses the river also contains a letter of the word RIVER.

HEAD-SMACK!!!  Of course the TUNNEL would go under the river, all the others have to go over, so AUCTION is the odd one out.  Time to start over again without AUCTION and see if I can join them up.

I think I can, you also have to be very careful – I started in the middle of the L of LONDON so there was room to squeeze around it in going from TAY to HUMPBACK.  I even wrote a note to John Green on my submit copy – “I have terrible drawing skills, it’s not meant to  touch where it probably looks like it does”.  Here’s the final set of bridges.

My final grid for Listener 4209 - city crossing tour by MerlinOK – well I’m writing this way late (it’s been a loooong week), so let’s peek at the solution to see if i got it.

Looks like we’re in the clear – woohoo!

This was a fun fill, frustrating middle, fun end and I was really impressed with the way the bridges and tunnels worked out.  And now George vs Merlin is all tied up!

Victory to George!  2012 tally:  31-1-6.

Feel free to point out to me how silly DUTCHMAN’S PIPE was in the first place or leave any comments below, and see you next week when we begin a run of 37 Listeners in a row about golf, beginning with a trip to KevGar’s links.



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