Tell Tess to get ‘er act together!

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, a weekly visit to the outer fringe of barred-grid puzzles.  The last few weeks have been such a blur that it feels like it was long ago that I sunk my teeth into “Getting in Shape”… also some bad news on the technology front – my trip to Texas last week taught me that it is a bad idea to mix nephews, unfamiliar environments, Burrito Bison and laptops, and so my computer is back in the repair shop – the one I’m working on right now does not play nice with my scanner so no grid pictures.  Pity, since I really wanted to scan a few things out of this one.  Oh well – here’s me as a reindeer/dog from our new Feral Chihuahuas show – “The Chihuahuaocalypse 2:  Boy Bands Strike Back

Me as a reindeer/dog

What an interesting shaped grid arrived this week  – Rood is a newdonym, so hi to Rood.  Carte blanche, much symmetry, 30 misprints and 18 letters missing from wordplay.  No lengths of answers given.  Yikes!  This could be a toughie.

There is a 1 across, but I didn’t get it on a first reading, so a fail on the 1 across test.  Wasn’t until 11 across that I saw one at first reading.  Still stone cold solving, but I made a few notes…  symmetry meant that since I knew 11 across was five letters, then 39 across was also five letters.  I started trying to jot beside the grid a logical arrangement for the acrosses as in which row they would go into.

After two runs through the across and down clues, and probably a third of them solved, I was starting to get frustrated with this one.  However there was one glimmer of hope – 12 across and down – I had ODS LIFE and OERSTED   For those two to fit in the top half of the crossword, they would have to be in the third or fourth row.  ODS LIFE could cross with VENDEE,  MISLED and HIRE CAR and MYTH could join MISLED and HIRE CAR and since 8 across would have to start the next across row, then this all had to go in the top right corner.  The diagonal symmetry would place WRASSE and make the first letter of 21 down W.

AHA!  So now the top half can be filled in since I’ve got a fairly good idea of the shape of the grid.  And that pattern could be repeated in the bottom, which helped out a lot, as I seemed to have more across answers than down answers in the bottom half of the grid.

Now I was stuck in a few places – I had BOLUSES at 28 down, and nothing seemed to be working with it.  25 down was flustering me – it didn’t look like it should have gone there.  I needed to check my symmetry more – of course it didn’t – VENDEE had to be an 8-letter word to be symmetric with ESTEEMED, HUGUENOT and whatever went at either 18 or 19 down.  VENDEUSE!  Aaaaah… so VACUOLAR goes in at 25. Aha!

The instruction was starting to come together too – I’m getting better now at looking for LETTERS and CLUES in any instructions and there they are at the start and finish.  Once I had everything I could place in the grid I had LETTERSON?E?NDE?IGHTINTHESECLUES (? meant a word I couldn’t determine if it was a misprint or a missing letter, and C?P?YSHAP?CENTRALLY

Looks like COPY SHAPE CENTRALLY (well that makes sense with the grid), and LETTERS ONE AND EIGHT IN THESE CLUES.

Really?  These already tricky clues are hiding something?

Finishing out the message makes the last trouble point in the grid come together – 27 across had to be a misprint of A, which would make FEE,BLE(T) and so BOLUSES is not right – LOBULES!  That confirms ULICHON, LITHE and SUES and we have a grid!  Woohoo!

To the message – LINK POINTS WHERE THE SAME LETTERS MEET NW TO SE AND JOIN UP EIGHT CORNERS.  There’s only four places where I see the letters meeting up… start to draw…

I know this shape!!!! It’s a 2-dimensional rendering of a cube!!!!  So we have to draw, as the saying goes, outside the box!  There’s a name for that… looking around the grid… TESSERACT! Quick peek in Chambers – “A figure of a cube within a cube”.  Time well spent on topology.  Draw my big cube, my little cube, marvel at my handiwork, add a letter of thanks to Rood, pop it in the mail, Victory to George!

Well until November 25… I got an email from Rood (by the way, if you’re a submitter reading this, you might want to try adding your email to your messages to setters – I include my postal address and email, and love getting cards and emails… oh and comments on blogs).

…I’m pleased that it worked for you, though not everyone managed to negotiate the final hurdle. We actually worked from the Chambers’ ‘cube within a cube’ definition of tesseract which is probably an over-simplification in ignoring the hypercube sense, but I think the latter would have imposed serious artistic (and, for JEG, checking) challenges.

The bad news is that you did however trip up on one tiny thing – it seems that you had STURES for STUPES. Though I’ve not seen your entry, I am inclined to think that this might be a transcription error…

Really????

Yep… would you believe (actually I think it would be very easy to believe) for 1 down, next to the clue I had written S TUPE S (-E) and put a circle around the TUP part (next to clues I usually write the wordplay and put a circle around anything that is reversed or deleted), and my circle made my P look like an R, which then went in to the grid without checking back on my wordplay.  Made worse by when I send in my version, I write row by row, so down entries don’t get that third level of checking.

Oh well – I enjoyed this one a lot, and it is no longer Victory to George, but  “close, but no chance at a dictionary I already have two copies of” (one I bought for myself, one that was a birthday present).

2012 tally:  36-1-7

Feel free to leave comments about anally checking entries, and see you next week when Elap attempts to even things out.

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