But how did it sound when he clapped?

Welcome to George vs the Listener, where I try to solve the Listener and write about it and sometimes magic happens, but usually I make a bunch of bad jokes.  It’s getting close to Halloween, so maybe there’ll be a spooky Listener this week!  I am hosting a costume contest at a show tonight, I’m all set with my zombie pimp outfit.  Brains, brains for sale.

What have we this week? KevGar – now that’s either a new type of plastic used in bulletproof vests, a new setter or a combination of setters.  I wonder if one of them is Kea?  Kea and Viking set one as Kevin (I find that out now, I think at the time I thought it was a new setter or a newdonym).  I guess we’ll find out or not, in any case, Hi KevGar if you or youns is looking in.

What have we here – some unclued entries with similar backgrounds and links (I thought I was reading a Spectator preamble at that point), and some hint as to unchecked letters.  All clue answers treated somehow.  Hmm…  So no real words in the grid, this could be tricky.

I didn’t start this one in the bar as I regularly do – I took this one home and worked on it while I watched the replay of the World Twenty20 semi-final with West Indies crushing Australia.  AAAAARGH!

So we have to be wordplay-conscious here, look for wordplay that would be some modified version of the answer.

There is a 1 across and at least intially there was a big fail on the 1 across test.  I scanned through the across clues until 16 jumped out at me – LATTE for LATTER or vice versa.  That looks promising.  It crosses U,I,NATION.  Hmmm… both of those have had an R removed?  If that’s true, then the wordplay for 8 down could be SNOKE,L – is SNOKE snuff?  Yes it is!

Wooohooo! May have cracked the theme with only three clues solved, how awesome would that be – let’s plug an R into that likely looking anagram in 9 across – INSIDE,COAT,ON + R = CONSIDERATION.  Sometimes you impress yourself George (meanwhile the West Indies are carving up Australia’s bowling).

I was making pretty liberal use of adding R’s in to Word Matcher’s anagram solver – helped get THORNPROOFS (so more than one R could be removed – probably all R’s).

The clues were very clear, and I was in an unusual situation of understanding most clues at a first or second read.  With a T and G in place on that long unclued entry down the bottom, a hunt on remaining letters suggested WITTGENSTEIN and with a P and K already in place on the fourth row, PROKOFIEV looked promising.

A check on WITTGENSTEIN reveals there’s two!  The Ludwig I was familiar with, and PAUL – a pianist who had his right hand amputated – and inspired pieces written for one-handed pianists by RAVEL, PROKOFIEV, BRITTEN and STRAUSS – all of whom have an R in their name.  That’s pretty cool, and we have a full grid…

Except for 19 down.

Oh… it’s WHIP with the W moved to the bottom in SS and the original was SHIPW(RIGHT)S.  That’s sneaky!

My grid for Listener 4210, Links by KevGar

There’s one more step – highlight the letters of the first name… PAUL where they appear closest together… that’s weird, don’t think I’ve seen that before.  Well there’s two Ps right next to each other on the far left, two A’s diagonally next to each other.  I thought there was two U’s right next to those, but on second glance that second letter in 7 is a O.  There’s two U’s four spaces away from each other in the third row from the bottom, there’s not that many other U’s in the grid.  There’s not that many L’s the only two that are close together are the one at 16 and down and to the left.  Does that make a pattern or a shape?

Huh?  I can’t see anything that shows the letters in LUDWIG that close together, there really only appears to be one W in the grid.  Maybe it has a meaning?  Anyway, this was finished before the game, but not before Australia had been well and truly outdone, but it was a fun theme and I learned something so thanks KevGar.  I think I can call this one Victory to George!

2012 tally:  32-1-6

Feel free to leave comments below and see you next week when we’ll take shots with Artix


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