George vs gravity and troublemakers

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.  Let’s get straight into it, shall we?  It’s Sabre time – now last time was rather embarrassing, since I couldn’t finish the Knight’s Moves crossword Translation, even though I may have put in an appearance in a clue.  No luck with the previous set of knight’s moves in Jumping to Conclusions, though I did manage to scrape to the end of Pangrams, and Whirly-Birly. A near miss on Au Contraire and an utter fail on Lip Service and it appears the tally is in Sabre’s favor, 4-2.  Yikes!

Now what have we here – jigsaw with clues in alphabetical order by length of answer, and an indeterminate number of clashes, making coordinates.  So all clues are normal (though Sabre normal, which means degree of difficulty partial differential equations while being tickled by a crocodile).

I settled in to my favorite watering hole for a late meal and an early solve.  There’s only 4 13-letter answers, 2 10s and 2 8’s, so it looks like we’ll be solving from the longest back.

This turned out to be not a bad idea – two of the 13’s were anagrams for PIGEON-LIVERED and GO-AS-YOU-PLEASE, one looked like HE something in CHOPPERS which had to be CHEESE-HOPPERS and the last one looked like it had UB, and an anagarm of HOLE in it which can be worked out later.  Of the 10s, there was another anagram for IREFULNESS, and one of the 8’s is CLEARING.

The 13-letter answers don’t seem to want to fit together though PIGEON-LIVERED would work with CLEARING and since the V had to be a clash, a clash with GO-AS-YOU-PLEASE let’s me fit in IREFULNESS – that gives me –OU as the start for the third 13-letter entry, which could be TROUBLEHOUSES from the wordplay.  I did one more read through the clues, getting about a third of them on an initial pass.. NEONATE looked like it could cross IREFULNESS and OUTROOT maybe with TROUBLEHOUSES… this seemed like a good place to stop for now.

The next day, I was walking home and disaster struck.  I wasn’t watching where I was stepping, and I tripped and landed hard on my left shoulder.  I picked myself up, wandered home and lay down for a bit.  After an hour or so I couldn’t move from pain so I called a friend for a ride to the doctor.  A few x-rays later and I’m told I’ve fractured my shoulder.  Most of the next week is a blur – couldn;t work or focus for a few days, saw a specalist who decided I didn’t need surgery, but needed to keep my left arm completely immobile for the next two weeks at least.  And extreme pain medication was to be had.

Needless to say, solving this Listened took a back-burner, and in fact I didn’t pick it back up until two days ago.  I’d made such a promising start I didn’t want to ditch this just yet.

So back we go… I worked on the clues a bit more and gradually they fell.  My approach was to work on clues of the one answer length and then fitting them in looking for the smallest number of clashes.  This proved to be a good approach – maybe I got lucky but I only placed one answer in the wrong place – I had SCRAE in the bottom left initially.

Pegging back a few clues at a time this way did the trick – near the end I was looking at a few possible letter combinations to get the last one or two of a length group (NIRLY was my last of the 5s).  In the end I was left with four 3-letter entries to solve (though I hit myself when I realised the obvious clue for OWL that was right in front of me), with the last two in being XIS and SOU.

my working grid for Listener 4263, Coordinates by Sabre

Far too late to send in, but I think I’ve finally scraped home. Those were some fiendish clues and an intriguing theme – I didn’t spot TROUBLEMAKING down the left side until I was trying to decide between H and M.  I eventually had a lot of fun with this, so thanks Sabre.

Sorry there’s not as many bad jokes here as normal – feel free to send me walking tips, and check back next week when Aedites sends us out on a commission.

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