Has anyone seen him perform an operation?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, again delayed by an hour or two – my physical therapist moved up my appointment and I had an unexpected breakfast thing, so I’m typing this a little bit after the solution has come out (no peeking!).

Ilver time – and this is a quick turnaround for Ilver, since we last met this February in Detective Work where I got to learn something about Hercule Poirot.  Phi once told me that to get two in a year usually means a Really Significant Anniversary, which means this has to be timely, and indeed there’s a significant anniversary to be entered in the middle cell (oh, I’m getting ahead of myself – I solved Detective Work and the Pig Latin Easy Win, which I also got – so good feelings about Ilver).

Well, at the end of November there was only one anniversary people were talking about – the 50th anniversary of Dr. Who.  With the prospect of post-solve shading, maybe there’ll be a Dalek waiting for us.  But I am really getting ahead of myself now – there’s a crossword to solve!

60 clues!  Non-crossing trails!  Extra letters in wordplay.  This is not going to be trivial.

Fortunately the clues were mostly gentle, and the general routes were pretty clear to see – I cold-solved more than half of them before beginning on the grid.  Now that was a work of patience!  I had different coloured highlighters for the threads and ended up having to make multiple trips back and forth before finding where everything went.  This was what I eventually came up with…

My working grid for Listener 4269, Journey to the Centre by Ilver

There were three real tricky parts in putting this together – first off I had REUTTER for 6, and it had nowhere to go.  I thought that maybe AFTERSALES was in the wrong spot, but there was nowhere else for it to go.  So REUTTER had to be wrong… and of course it was, it’s REAL,TE(A)R… that makes the message which was COUNT N LETTER IN EACH OF REMAINING CLUES to COUNT A LETTER IN EACH OF REMAINING CLUES… that kind of makes more sense.

Next problem-spot was the bottom right.  Is it just me or is (the Mighty) TARBOOSH a bit under-unched there?  HOMEFELT and TARBOOSH took a lot of finding – to be honest I ended up looking for 8-letter words starting HOM and then 8-letter words starting in T and ending in H to find them.

The final one was the bottom left – ARCKINGS and RINGSTER had to intertwine with each other, and I couldn’t figure out 57 for the life of me, but STOUP looks promising.

On the plus side – we do appear to be in Dr Who territory, since if it is him, then there’s a TARDIS somewhere, and Chambers has Tardis (I remember being surprised at seeing that, I think I first saw it in a Tim Moorey Mephisto a few years ago), as an abbreviation for Time And Relative Dimensions in Space.  An L in the middle puts T,REL,DIM in there.

Now to the shading bit… there’s 26 remaining clues, so I look through for A’s in 35, B’s in 36 and so on.  Looks like F is the only one with 4.  I printed off a new grid and put squares around ones that were definitely not shaded, and put an X through letters that had their shadings completed.  I contemplated a few ways of getting started, but noticed there were a fair few “0” letters around the outside, so I started from the outside in.  This turned out to be lucky as the T I had in RINGSTER was clearly in the wrong place… back to 57 and words that begin with S and end with P – aaaah, a SCOUP is a bound. So we reposition RINGSTER, ARCKINGS and SCOUP and here we go.  Looks like it is meant to be DOCTOR WHO in funny block capitals.

listener_xtra_4269With that I believe we may have a Victory to George.  Guessed the theme in 0.1 second, solved the crossword in… well hours and hours and hours… I think I spent as many solving sessions as there have been Doctors (aren’t we on the 27th or something by now?).

What’s funny is that I completely gave up on Dr. Who around the time of SylvesterMcCoy.  In Australia, Dr. Who owned the prime “watch TV just after getting back from school” slot of 5-6pm, Monday to Friday, pretty much year round.  Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker (they were shown in pretty random order) were my regular late afternoon companions.  I tried the newer series, and there’s too much of a convoluted mythology, which seems to be the current trend in sci-fi.  Apart from this crossword, I didn’t watch any of the stuff going on with the anniversary.  Most of my friends are geeks, and many of them lined up to see the 50th anniversary thing in the theatre (even though it was going to be on TV the next day).

2013 tally:  34-7-6

Feel free to tell me that I have terrible taste in sci fi, and see you next week when Oyler invites us to his Alma Mater (hopefully not Time Lord University or wherever you get a doctorate in chronology).


One Response

  1. Fingers crossed that I grant you absolution from your year of number hell!!!

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