It’s crunchy!

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.  It’s been a  rough few weeks at GvL central, with the Listener taking it three weeks in a row, and looks like I’m not going to be able to match last year’s record.  Now if it’s a steady decline from here, maybe it means the peak of my mental powers was reached at 42 and Douglas Adams was on to something!

Can we steady the ship with Corylus and the rarely seen frying-pan grid.  This is my first Corylus listener, but a peek at the setters list at the Listener Crossword site shows that Corylus is a setter with whom I have more than a passing familiarity, as I used to blog his Mephisto crosswords for Times For The Times.  So I was feeling confident I could get the styles of clues.  What have we here – a grid with no unches, a lot of words that have to be guessed from checking letters and three thematic words.  Hmmm… OK.

There is a 1 across and it’s not a success on the 1 across test, can’t figure out what is going on there at all.  Better luck on 5 across where FINALITIES goes in – I was writing things in lightly since I had no idea what the thematic treatment was.  FINALITIES really got me going on the right hand side of the grid – I had everything on the right side put in within the next 20 minutes.  That’s weird – so far nothing seems to have been thematically altered.  Maybe I’ll find it on the left hand side (which only had FALA, LITTERS and TANGUN in it at the time).

The next morning I came back to the left side…

It was 6 down that broke it wide open… it had to be PUNC something but there isn’t room in the grid… HUPS is turns to right so PUNCHUPS… ahhh take out the UNCH and we get PUPS.  So that 1 across is LUNCHsomething.  PUNCHEON finished out my set of three that need modification.  Woohoo!  Early on Saturday morning, I have a grid.

There’s one last task… find a four-letter word that can be thematically untreated (retreated?).  There’s only 12 four letter answers in the grid, so let’s get cracking.  Silly me thought I’d found it when I saw PEON could be PUNCHEON… ummm, except you’ve already treated that, dingbat.  There’s SCRY that could become SCRUNCHY – is the hair thingy in Chambers?  Yes it is!  And we are done.

My working grid for Listener 4251, Unchless by Corylus

I finished this in time to go back and try to get a finish on 4250, which went in the same envelope on Sunday.  Hopefully this one wasn’t tainted by the distinct odor of failure that went in with it.  I’m writing this in a timely fashion, so I don’t quite know, but tentatively I think I can call this, at last, a Victory to George.  Thanks Corylus for a fun and gentle solve, when this battered and bruised solver sorely needed it.

2013 tally:  20-6-3.

Feel free to tell me that I need to get bunchieror I could lose my street crunched, and see you next week when Lavatch gives us a white truck.

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