Dipper’s got a Tetris garden!

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, hopefully this time posting on time (I’m typing this up on Thursday night so there’s a good chance).

Let’s get the advertisements out of the way, shall we?  In a few weeks I’ll be dragging my carcase up at 9 am local time to join in on The All-England (and sometimes expat Australians living in the US) RNIB Crosswords Cup 2013.  I have to defend my last place finish (on a team with Aedites amongst others).  Now if you’re like me and nowhere near High Holborn, you can sign up for the “play by email” part, and if you want we can skype together and make “Team Asynchronous (and probably cheating)”.  If you’re near High Holborn, sign up and go there.

For six inglorious years, I have held down a Thursday spot at Times For The Times.  My original Thursday co-crony was Richard Grafen, but for the last few years it’s been the Malaysian Man of Sunshine, Uncle Yap.  UY is going to take a break from blogging, so there’s a hunt on for “who wants to share a Thursday blogging spot with George”.  You have to think it’s the easiest spot on the T4TT blogging roster, as readers can breathe a sigh of relief it’s not me.  Even a few setters might thank you!

OK, how about that Listener – it’s Dipper!  Now I have to hand it to the Dipster – he/she has a one-track mind.  Dipper’s garden has had books  (solved it), weeds (got there), trees (nowhere near) and flowers (struggled, but got there).  This time we’ve got rocks, which means next must be gnomes and flamingos.

It looks at first glance like Dipper’s stolen the grid from Corylus a few weeks ago – there’s not a lot of bar lines – are there missing ones?  There’s five rocks in there – I guess they make the other grid lines.  So jigsaw with clues in alphabetical order of answers.  Looks like there should be plenty of checking opportunities.  A quick scan of the clues and it looks like there’s only two 12-letter entries and two 11-letter entries.  The 11’s probably go in the fifth and eighth column.  But don’t get ahead of yourself, let’s solve.  There’s also an indeterminate number of definition misprints.  Hmmm…

Speaking of misprints, I think there’s one in the very first clue – ACE(r)  and we appear to be away.  A first run through the clues was pretty decent – though I was convinced the wordplay for the fifth clue was DAM,P.  The 11- and 12- letter clues all fell on a first read (OK – I figured that the clue for NOCTILUCENT has a misprint for Glowing in the dark, and looked for words that ended in CENT to get NOCTILUCENT.

So with the four long clues solved, it became apparent that INHARMONIOUS could cross NOCTILUCENT in the top row of the grid, and PERSONALISM could cross REDEMPTIONIST in the bottom – APLASIA fits well with INHARMONIUS down to the bars and SYMBOLE works on the end of the row.  ICING or IMIDE could go on the left side – but if it’s ICING that leaves a nice tempting space to put GRISSINI and HARLOTS… which makes a bar line (and presumably part of a rock surrounded by ICING, GRISSSINI and HARLOTS – that would also start a piece on the right of GRISSINI and HARLOTS – which means IMPS and OOR could slot in at the top.

At this point something dawned about the rocks… there’s five of them, same size but different shape.  There’s five different tiles in a game of Tetris, and they’re all four spaces.  Dipper has Tetris rocks!

Please tell me I’m not the only one who thought this, and you get double points if you coloured the rocks in like tetris bricks.

With this epiphany, it was easier to work the rest of the grid fill – I was stuck for a moment with two different places I could put RAKI, but one of them checks all four letters, so that’s the best place.   My last two entries were SYMBOLE and UTIS up in the top left.  The misprints in the clues didn’t ring any bells, but Word Wizards suggests GREISEN, which is a kind of stone.  Woohoo!!

My working grid for Listener 4255, On The Rocks by Dipper

I think this was my favorite of the Dipper Listeners so far.  The clues were mostly gentle, the rocks were well-placed and I got to pretend it was a puzzle about a video game so woohoo!

Oh, as much as I like video games, a puzzle about Candy Crush could cause me to give up crosswords forever.

I believe I can call this one a Victory to George – I didn’t finish it in time to submit it, but I got there in the end.

2013 tally:  22-7-4

Feel free to tell me about how rocks really are in that shape, and see you next week when Radix reaches down into the cricket kit and pulls out a box (or 24 of them).

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