One Friday I had a hack at this puzzle

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – your home for woefully late reports on foregone conclusions.  I got a nice email from Sabre apologising for breaking my shoulder (I doubt Sabre was responsible for more than about 0.3% of the break).  My recovery is progressing to the point where I am now able to drive short distances, and I have a series of extremely painful daily exercises.  I can type with both hands, though keeping my left hand level to type gets difficult after a while.  I’m slowly re-entering society (sorry about that, society).

Let’s wind back to close to October 25… I was going to proctor an exam with one arm in a sling, and a canvas bag for company containing Bradford’s, Chambers and a printout of Ability by Kruger.  There’s been one Kruger Listener, and it was almost exactly a year ago with the spooky-themed A Spirited Performance.  It was an involved but fun solve, so I was looking forward to this one.

What have we got – an unknown number of clues with extra letters in wordplay, something needed to enter some answers, and a quote.  So most of the clues are normal.  OKeydoke, here we go…

Kruger was really avoiding the 1-across test by not starting the across answers until 4, and that being one I could not figure out for the life of me.  11 across looks like METIER, which doesn’t fit in the space provided.  Hmmm… this crosses 1 down, and in Listenerworld, body often means SOMA, so the M from METIER fits, and at least there’s something in the grid now.  A peek at Chambers confirms LIBERO for 3 (I like it when BERK appears in a clue, it was a very common putdown in Australia).

Not long later I was faced with a number of down answers that were too long for the grid entry and a crossing STONEHAMMER.. now if the TO matched TORMENTORS (leaving another doubly-occupied square later on)and the ME with MESNE, maybe it’s small words that need to be crammed in to spaces, like THE in ATHETISTS… that would work if ATHEISM is 12 across… and it is!

That’s not the whole problem though… what small word could I remove from GRASPED?

Hmmm… the extra letters I’d found were UNAJOR… which looks like it could be on the way to JOURNALISM… dare I?  Let’s Google “Journalism is the ability…” and out comes JOURNALISM IS THE ABILITY TO MEET THE CHALLENGE OF FILLING THE SPACE… aaaaah – so it’s SO from GRASPED (making 33 SPITTER and giving me the L from JOURNALISM) and the quote is hidden in the letters squashed together in the squares – all of which are cheked!  That’s nifty.

With that in place it was a canter home, and I had a complete grid in under two hours!  Last hold-ups were the PROFFERER/COFFERED and ATHENE/ETHERIAL crossings which were obvious once I knew which letters needed to go in there.

My working grid for Listener 4265, Ability by Kruger

One of my fastest solves, but a rather fun use of a quote I did not know.  Googlecheating ran wild in speeding up the process but I think I can call this one a Victory to George!

2013 tally:  30-7-6

Feel free to tell me that I need to put the cellphone down and enjoy the process of solving, and see you next week when Dysart offer you special protection, yes he does, yes he does.


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