You spin me six round baby four round like a record baby twn round round round

Welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword, and I think this week the title of this blog is particularly apt.  I felt like I was locked in a battle with Ottorino.  But I’m getting ahead of myself – Ottorino is a new setter or a newdonym (I tried doing the various decodings on parts of Ottorino and didn’t come up with anything, so who knows).  So hi to Ottorino if you’re checking in!

What have we here – 18 clues need something decoded, 10 answers need to be encoded before going in the entry.  Misprints give hints (hey that rhymes!).

Oh boy, codes.  I’m relieved at the lack of a “play””fair” square in the page, so that can’t be one of them.  Probably rotation ciphers since I don’t think 6 changes is going to be enough for a substitution cipher, right?

I guess we should try some clues and work it out, right?

There is a 1 across, but at first reading I couldn’t get anything at all out of it.

Nor the second clue

Nor the third clue

Hey Ottorino, when am I going to see something that works in here?

Finally – MUU-MUU with a misprint of X for T.  There’s an X in the message, great.  And the first answer I found can’t go in the grid (not that it stopped me from writing it in lightly)

This could be some sort of record – I made it all the way down to 39 across for P,ROP, which doesn’t seem to have a misprint or a coded word.  But it gets me a start in the grid.  PROP crosses EMPTY which means HYMN must must encode to… ummm… something that means EMPTY.  Great.

Well I have two crossing entries so let’s bash away at this corner… SYMAR and PSORA go in, neither of them seems to have a coded word.  37 across looks like it should be ARIMASP so OAFS must code to some sort of anagrindicator.  AROINTS and THROES later I have most of a corner, but not much of a clue.

That was it for the first solving session… a day or so later I came back to poke it with a stick.

Let’s try the downs… one of those months that pops up occasionally, VEADER gets me going – VERQUERE is a game, so I’m now two more answers in and none the wiser to the coding.

First breakthrough came as I went further along the down clues – 20 down looked like it would be SWEPT, which means LAP had to encode to probably PET… seems like the encoding is producing real words.  If you add 4 to each of the letters LAP becomes PET!

Aaaah… I thought 8 down was ANOA and if you add 4 to each of the letters you get ERSE and that fits in with VERQUERE

So now back to 22 across – if it’s MUUMUU and 6 down is RESKEW, adding 10 to each of the letters turns MUUMUU into WEEWEE.  Two codes down!

Neither OAFS nor HYMN are helped by rotation by 4 or 10.  Does another rotation help either of them?  A bit of poking around with a rotation cipher decoder (yay for random tools on the internet) shows that rotation by 6 turns HYMN into NEST and OAFS into UGLY.

The title then decodes into SIX FOUR TEN using the coding appropriate to each word.

Awesome – I’ve got the three codes, I know what the title is.  All I have to do now is… solve more than half the clues!

This was far easier said than done – for a lot of these I had to take the cowards route of trying likely looking words from the clues in the solver, or putting the known letters in a grid answer in the solver to get guesses for what the correct letters may be (if you got SAPPAN -> WETTER on your own wits you are a far far better solver than I).

There were a few flashes of great fun – I was rather taken with the clue for GOLLUM that eventually became MURRAS.

It wasn’t until the next Sunday night that I had a full grid.  The beast is dead, the game is done.

My working grid for Listener 4247 - Yod Jsyv Dox by Ottorino

I put it in the mail the Monday after the puzzle came out, so I probably didn’t make the deadline.  SIX AND FOUR from the misprints didn’t come until I solved the final few clues.

I believe I can call this one a Victory to George – and I don’t think  I’ve agonized as much over a crossword this year.  Perseverence, persistence, and blatant overuse of internet resources for the win.

2013 tally:  19-3-3

Feel free to tell me that I would make a terrible Turing, and see you next week when Augeas attempts to bring some classiness to the proceedings.


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