Three microscopic grids walk into a bar…

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.  Time to right this ship, eh?  It’s been a pretty miserable start to 2013, with four failures already, ouch.  Let’s see what happens next?  It’s Elfman!  There’s only been one other Elfman puzzle to appear in George vs Listener (though I have it on reasonable authority that Elfman has contributed to at least one other puzzle as a grouponym), and that was the Rudyard Kipling themed Requisite Knowledge, which I solved without too too much trouble.

First thing I noticed was that this printed on one page!  And that’s one US letter page, the (probably appropriately) shorter and wider bastard child of the A4 page.  This feat was managed by there being a short preamble, no break between across and down clues, and a tiny tiny tiny long thin grid.  What is this?  Three 7X7 grids next to each other, with something joining them through the middle.

Stone cold solving again – it looks like half of these clues have  a lie in them.  Hmmm

There is no 1-across but there is a first clue, so let’s start there… and not be able to solve it.  Fail on the “1 across” test.  Ditto the next few.  Hmmm… a first scan through all the clues only yielded a dozen or so straight off, but fortunately the words that could be lies tended to stand out in the clues.

A few more runs through and I have a few places that could be a starting point – there’s only six 6-letter clues (though there’s seven clues that have 6-letter enumeration… aaaaah… one of them isn’t U PRISE, it’s U PRAISE and the lie is in the six letters!).

You know how sometimes you get really lucky?  Here’s how to be a completely lucky bastard in solving a Listener puzzle with about half the clues figured out

– the very last clue is fortunately quite easy – HAP,U (no lie)

– since all 4-letter answers are accounted for, it has to go in the bottom left of one of the three grids

– It crosses two seven-letter entries, which should be somewhere in the middle and have a U or a P as a second letter – I’m looking at you, U,PRAISE (lie)

– That means another seven-letter entry not too far past U,PRAISE has to have a U as the second letter.  TA,BAN,US – in you go

– One of the first 4-letter clues has to fit that B in TABANUS… hello B,ELT

– OUT,LEA,P fits down the middle, as does L(EFT)IE and ST(E)RLET

– Go to Word Wizards to find words that would fit the rest of the grid… EN L’AIR, ANNULET, KE(P)T and of course the very first answer is THE OAKS.  No clues seem to match SUSPECT… aaaaaah… that’s the unclued entry (not the bit in the middle)

– The middle line now reads AHALFTR – to Google!  A HALF TRUTH IS A WHOLE LIE

The luck of the Aussies is smiling on me!  Not only have I got the first grid, it’s the alternating truth/lie grid, I have the entry that goes all the way along the middle, and every other clue I’ve solved can be sorted to their grid by truth or lie!

About 90 minutes later, looks like we’re in action – UPRIGHT and ANANIAS complete our trio of unclued entries.

My grid for Listener 4231, Very by Elfman

And if I’ve made a transcription error in the one I sent in, the squares will be too small for M. Green to make out!

Very fun puzzle, Elfman, and a stroke of luck that will hopefully get myself back up and in the solving habit.  The solution will be out in about 40 minutes, but for now I’m going to call this a Victory to George

2013 tally:  5-2-2

Of course it can’t be as simple as all that, can it?  As Dave pointed out in a comment (and misery loves company), it’s OBLATE, not OF LATE.  I even considered OBLATE, but didn’t look it up.  Hang head in shame, and see if we can manage a year with more silly failures than actual successes!

2013 revised tally:  4-3-2

Feel free to let me know that I took horrendous shortcuts and should be punished, and see you next week when Hedge-sparrow kills a mystery


4 Responses

  1. George, I hate to tell you this, but you made the same mistake as I did in this puzzle. If you look at my animation at LWO, look just above the centre of the final right-hand grid.

  2. Well, well, well – look at that. I thought of OBLATE and didn’t even bother looking it up since of course I knew it only had one meaning, the geometrical one, right? So much for getting back above 500. Pity – if I’d known earlier, I could have gone for the “no-correct” year.

  3. D’oh, same here. Will this be in the ‘most common errors’ at the end of the year? I’d bet on it.

    • Sorry to hear that, Rupert – there’s room on this sinking ship! Elfman is somewhere cackling with glee right now, I’m sure.

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