Way to overcomplicate things idiot! I guess it’s time for a cuppa

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword and Happy New Year – I hope 2014 brings you much joy, and the inevitable wait for the next pressing of Brewers.  Maybe there’ll be a new Chambers Dictionary by then.

We still have three puzzles to mop up from 2013 before stepping boldly into the uncharted waters of 2014, but I’m considering it a new year, fresh start. Various complications prevented me from submitting a Listener since 4251 – but I believe I’m going in to the new year cancer-free, with a shoulder operating at about 75%, and at a weight that should keep the heart attack warnings away.  Watch that all unravel quick!

The terultimate puzzle for 2013 is Bun Fight, which as soon as I saw the title, made me think of the Goodies episode “Bunfight at the OK Tea Rooms” so I was sure we were in Wild West territory.  Or at least I hoped we were.  That’s two in a row where I’ve tried to guess the theme at the beginning and been woefully inaccurate.  Why don’t we actually solve the thing?

Kea is making a second appearance for the year, with the first one being back in January in Polar, where one had to change a bunch of words to their antonyms to solve clues.  Took a while, but I got to the bottom of it – before that was Scattered, which was an anagram of a whole other crossword (got it), the numerical eponym 4164 (yup), Table-Turning (fail, and missed a chance for grid mutilation),Admission (which I flubbed mightily on a puzzle many waxed lyrical over), and Conflict Resolution (limped to a finish battered and bruised).

I should probably get around to making keywords for prolific setters so I don’t have to dig through these everytime (or copy and paste from an earlier blog).

OKeydoke – drop two letters to make a word or name in the grid (hmmm… so I guess it’s all real words after the dropping?), then stuff happens to the grid at the end.

There is no 1 across, though there is a 4 across – the definition seems to be pointing at AVERRING, and AV is in Chambers as “Annos Vixit” so we are away!

My hopes for a Western/Goodies crossover was bolstered as I was solving when I saw 32 across – TEAR UP could become EARP.  I’ll admit there was a lot of retrofitting from words that could fit in the grid by adding two letters. I was also pretty confisued in the bottom right, where IOWANS had a few possibilities, and I couldn’t see what 31 down was.

Next spot in the grid was BOSON… which looks very close to BOSTON, which is not a particularly Western town (I’ve been there three times).  What could BOSTON have to do with Wyatt Earp? Was he ever there?  Under BOSON is HRBOR… oh bugger, it’s the bloody tea party!

Everything could be found pretty readily after that – floating on what will later become BOSTON HARBOR are the three ships – DARTMOUTH, ELEANOR and BEAVER.  The removed letters give LAPSANG and are on their way to TWANKAY which means 33 across is most likely IONS… a bit more Chambers searching and there’s TOLSEY as an exchange.  So we’re going to take TEA out of the ships to make BOSTON HARBOR, TAX and REPRESENTATION… there’s an extra E left over so it’s probably TAXES, and the rest of the letters anagram to make PLUNDERS.

My working grid for Listener 4272, Bun Fight by KeaNow this last step bugged me for a while.  Is the 19 non-real words significant?  Does that mean LAMPOONISTS has to stay intact, because it can?  I filled in the grid without the thematic items and started highlighting.  It looks like you don’t have to make 19 non-words, you can do it in 17… after the letters are removed and considering across answers that have to become non-words there’s only 10.

I tried filling in one or two before the light of brilliance hit my head of stupidity.  It’s thematic!  The letters T,E, and A are just sinking to make the new words.  This was all unnecessary…

My final grid for Listener 4272, Bun FIght by KeaOh yes, and now there are 19 non-words.

I was hoping for the Goodies, but I got some Tea from Kea!  That was a lot of fun, though I managed to frustrate myself during the end.  I believe I can call this one a Victory to George

2013 tally:  37-7-6

We’re rolling towards the end of the year, so feel free to reminisce about squirting tomato sauce through those tomato-shaped squeeze bottles (my parents had one like that), and see you next week when Pointer drags us into Conflict.




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