• Archives

Dam I missed

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – I had a minor panic attack last night when I logged on to the Times Crossword club late on Thursday night and there was a link to Listener Crossword 4244!  Not sure what’s going on over there in crosswordclubland, but I wondered if I’d slept through a day and it was Saturday already.  So I now have four Listeners sitting in front of me… weird!  Not sure if I like this new setup or not, I guess it does give me a chance to get a Listener in the mail before the weekend starts, but Thursday is usually a night to try to catch up on sleep.  Maybe it was just a scheduling flub.

Ifor time!  This is Ifor’s third Listener, last year we had A1 with the Flying Scotsman which was a pretty speedy solve, needing a bit of poking around in Brewers, and Frightened Catherine, which I thought I had, but fell for a trap with Fahrenheit and Celsius conversions.  Rubber match, here we go!

OK – a block has to be rebuilt, real words in the end.  Eleven letters dropped in wordpay, and some complicated instruction to get a thematic number.  Hmmm… well it looks like real words before and after in the grid and that sounds good to me!

OK – there is a 1 across and it looks like the answer should be POSIT but I don’t see a definition?  Could it be our wordplay only clue right off the bat?  It could be I in POST or I in POS,T… Maltby makes me think of Richard Maltby, who writes a thematic crossword once a month for Harpers (they’re usually pretty easy and have a ton of Americanisms).  Anyhoo, let’s put POSIT in and see if it works… it works with the compound anagram OARS, STILL, another subtraction anagram in IDOL and whatever 5 down should be that was left off my printout.


Anyone else in the US have this problem?  A question or two is cut off between page 1 and page 2 of the printout? It happens with the Jumbo as well, though usually you can figure out what was meant to be there from checking letters.

Continuing with this top left corner… looks like there’s a MALTBY appearing again, across MALT and BYLINE.  That’s weird.  Surely the Listener isn’t producing a tribute to Harpers?  On we go…

The first missing letter appeared for me in 24 across – MOONTYPE…. oh great, it could be either O.  There’s another in ANGORA, no doubt about where that could be – and it’s another O.  NONQUOTA crosses ANGORA and is also missing an O – maybe it’s the same one… it’s yet another subtraction anagram.  With QUORUM it looks like a pattern is appearing in those O’s.

In about two hours I was in a very interesting (but not unusual for me) place – I had a complete grid.  I had a pattern of O’s that looked a bit like a metal detector.  I had a pattern of numbers to apply to the rest of the clues, took a few false steps before I eventually got REPEAT ONE ENTRY NUMBER SIX PLACES EAST.

And I am completely stuck…

My working grid for Listener 4241, skippers by Ifor


Hmmm… those O’s look like they could be bouncing – is it The Dam Busters?  To Brewer!  Hmmm, there’s an entry but not much there.  To Google!!! Aha – MATLBY was one of the Dam Busters!  But the first attempt was a failure, and had GIBSON instead of MALTBY in charge, and didn’t blow up the MOHNE (though in Brewer it’s MOEHNE) dam.  So replace MALTBY with GIBSON and rebuild the MOHNE dam gives us all real words.  The squadron was 617 – so moving the 1 from 1 across six places to the left completes the number.

Wow – I don’t think I’d ever gotten to the bitter end of a grid without having a clue about the theme before!  I got a phone call while I was writing this up so the solution should be online now, let’s take a peek…

Looks like I can call this a Victory to George!  I really liked the puzzle but I thought it was odd that the final solution (ulp) contradicted information in one of the usual sources.  I don’t think any of it is in Chambers, but hooray for the interweebs!

2013 tally:  14-3-2

Feel free to tell me I don’t know my dam business, and see you next week when gwizardry tries to kill us with a queen.

6 Responses

  1. I haven’t seen an entire line disappear, but the page break often falls in the middle of a line in such a way as to make it unreadable. The exact mode of failure probably depends on the OS and printer driver. I’ve gotten into the habit of checking the page break after printing out, and correcting by hand as necessary. Somebody in the UK suggested that telling the printer software you have A4 and printing 10% smaller produced acceptable results on 8.5×11, but I haven’t tried it.

    Well done with the Dam Busters; I’d never heard of them, and was unable to complete the final step.

  2. Yeah, I’m using Windows 8 with an Epson printer, and with Firefox I lose about one clue (2 down today), with Chrome I lose at least one clue and often more.

    You bring up an interesting point – I wonder if there was enough thematic material to point someone who had never heard of the theme at the answer. Hmmm….

  3. I have MacOSX 10.6.8 with an HP Officejet 6500, which helps not at all.

    Not in my case. I figured out Maltby was important, and went through the same process of rejecting Richard Jr that you did. But googling the name didn’t turn up anything useful. I’m surprised I had never heard of the raid, actually. It’s before I was born, but the US was in the war at that point (including a couple of my relatives, but they were all in the Pacific); I know some things about the war, and it’s a good story. Well, now I know. That’s a side benefit of doing these puzzles, sometimes you learn things.

  4. Over on the LWO blog Shirley referred to a “young crossword setter” who had difficulty extracting the theme. Well, I certainly couldn’t see it at first. The MOON at both ends of the trail of O’s led me for a long time to reading about the Moon landings! Whoops. Needed to be pointed the right way in the end.

    If people struggled to access the theme, it wasn’t for lack of effort by Ifor. Once you see what’s going on there’s so much to draw on in the clues and grid, but it only fits together afterwards. 44a reads as an innocent clue but obviously is referencing the theme once you see it; 17a, 1a, 43a even all link together. I think over on LWO a few more are described.

    A wonderful puzzle, anyway.

  5. It only takes a few minutes to edit the crossword in Openoffice Word to fit on a single A4 sheet – so much more convenient.

    What a dreadful word “gotten” is!

    As for some people never having heard of the Dambusters (one word), I am flabbergasted.

    • Thanks for the comments, Dave and Jaguar – wasn’t around the computer yesterday so took me a while to get them approved.

      I’m in the US, so A4 editing isn’t going to help – I just live with printing it and writing in whatever clues get chopped in the cut.

      “Gotten” is prevalent here and it is annoying, so I try to use it as much as possible! It is in Chambers, I’ll have to make sure I work it into a puzzle sometime.

      I’m being honest – all I knew about the Dambusters was the end of the movie (which is two words) . I don’t recall much of WW2 being high school knowledge in Australia (and history was a subject I regularly tuned out of), and I’m 42, so it’s not really in the memory of myself or my parents.

      But I know more now, sorta!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: