About as close as we’re likely to get to a Mighty Boosh crossword

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – and a lateish submission (though I got the puzze in on time, I think).

There are a couple of setters where I smile when I see the name, as I know I’m likely to be in for a theme I have familiarity with, fun clues, and a little bit of work.  Xanthippe is among those names (hi Xanthippe if you’re checking in), having entertained us with a numerical involving licence plates and US states, grid mutilation (but still not burning), rhyming slang in text messages, and a crossword that was a game of solitaire.  All fun, and all finished!

This time we’ve got eight affected answers and a pretty brief preamble, real words before and after.  So that sounds like normal clues at least, and we’ll see what happens from there.

There is a 1 across and SI,GH later we have a big pass on the 1 across test!  It crosses S,PACE,SHIP and clues that appear to be for MNA and R(OT)IDE all reversed.  Hmmm….  those down answers to fit P(ENDU)LUM and A,CAIN so I guess something has to happen to SIGH.  That was about it for the top left, so moving on.  COUNT IN, ED with the U moved gets us going and a lot of the top right seems to come together, but M,EEK won’t play nice.  Hmmm…

The middle didn’t seem to want to come together at all, but working on the bottom – GNAW, MESSAGER, DIRHAM, ASH and EYEPITS put the tantalising prospect of WORMHOLES at 42 across but there’s an L in the way from NUMEROLOGICAL.  Maybe it’s part of a wormhole?

Aaaaaah!  Double penny-drop moment!  SPACESHIP could become SPACE-TIME and CONTINUED could become CONTINUUM, and my NAME that doesn’t play with my down answers could swap the AME with the IGH up the top and make real words.  The TIME could come from WARSHIP.

Out comes the highlighter to find what could move where – the middle of my grid was really only finished after spotting the end-game, and the final touch was to sort out 13 down, which early on I figured could be ADEPT but didn’t write in because it wouldn’t fit with TROOP.  It’s a wormhole crossing another wormhole (doesn’t that make a collapsible continuum?) to leave 25 down eventually as SWEPT and 13 as ADORE.

Here’s the scribbles, highlights and my crib notes on where things needed to go…


My working grid for Listener 4227 - 42 (Wormholes) by Xanthippe

Well the solution is up now and… I believe I’ve got it.  Woohoo!  Victory to George.

2013 tally:  4-1-0

Feel free to leave comments below and see you next week when Ilver poses the question, does a detective actually work?


5 Responses

  1. Hi George
    Thanks for your kind comments. Your comment about Douglas Adams last week was prescient! I struggled with a title for this (it was ‘short cut’ originally which was not great) but I decided 42 was ok particularly with a nod to Adams.


  2. Wasn’t sure if 42 was a nod to DA (with whom I had dinner in 1988) or not, but happy to hear it was. I also have a theory on crosswords being scheduled to keep average preamble length constant – yours rather short, Ilver’s non-existent, Ruslan’s a novel and a half, haven’t seen what appeared today yet.

    • I bet the dinner with DA was interesting. Not sure about the preamble theory bit I’ve just submitted a puzzle with a very long preamble.

  3. This was my first prize win – it really made my weekend, especially as I will now have a Brewer’s to consult. Thanks for misdirecting your entry, which may have made all the difference!

    • Congratulations Rupert Cousens of Oxford, Oxfordshire – I’ve heard from setters before but never from a prizewinner! I hope it’s shiny and attractively packaged. I like to think that John Green arrives in a little van with a sound system playing Pachelbel’s Canon while he presents a copy of Brewers tied in a bow on a chalice (he keeps the chalice, but you get to leave a thumbprint).

      I wouldn’t mind winning one – I have the previous edition. It was really useful in the Pub Cricket puzzle, and the one with the Flying Scotsman.

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