It’s a fair kop

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword. Well didn’t last week’s puzzle cause a bit of a kerfuffle, and it looks like I was not alone in putting 125 MPH.  Maybe we can rebound this week, since it’s Shark Week.  Readers in the UK, you may be blissfully unaware of this awesomeness, but there are a spate of shark-themed movies, mostly broadcast on the cable network SyFy with uber-cheap digital effects, and usually one name star who is mostly filmed sitting in an office.  There’s been Dinoshark, Land Sharks, Sharktopus – and two weeks ago the crowning glory of shark-special-effect movies Sharknado – about a bunch of sharks sucked up a water spout and flying all over LA.  So it was perfect timing for Shark – who we have only seen once, a year ago in Continental Drift, with the map of Africa.

The title, and the shape of the grid (11X14) made me dread that this was going to be a soccer puzzle.  At the risk of losing the few readers I have left, no sport bores me as much as soccer.  Even American football realises the sport is tedious and unwatchable and put in funny commercials.  Let’s carry on…

Seven misprints, circles, red lines (hmmm, maybe it’s going to be hockey?).  Three markings, different colored lines (there’s three lines in an ice hockey field!), some letter changes at the end.  OK – well it’s all real words.

There is a 1 across, and for the first time in a while W,R,AXLE gets us going.  An X in the first clue?  This looks ominous.  The top right fills up fairly quickly and that X looks to be part of BOX running up.  If 13 across is LANATE (originally I thought it was K for N, but it’s just a shortened NAP and there’s no misprint) then we have a PENALTY BOX and it is soccer.

Crestfallen, I went through the motions.  I had two problems in the end – first was that I’d found 9 misprints – I thought 1 down had R -> K and 13 across had K -> N.  Those didn’t fit with the rest of the misprints, which could spell out ANFIELD.  The other was that I have no idea if the fourth letter in 35 across is a C or a K.  Wordplay and definition seem to support both and the thematic stuff doesn’t seem to help.  The other PENALTY BOX leads to real words in the bottom of the grid.

My working grid for Listener 4249, Play's Opening by Shark

So I didn’t submit it, and Shark can claim a Victory over George.  Sorry about that, I just could not get into this one.  I promise, Shark, next time you can have my full and undivided attention.  Unless it’s a grid about soccer or American Football.  Two in a row!  The record could take a hit this year…

2013 tally:  19-5-3

Feel free to tell me that I should have tried harder, and come back next week when I may or may not make it through a BeRo Listener.

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