Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, for the last Listener of 2013.  My record took a bit of a hit this year, so my greatest awe to those of you who managed to keep the year intact to this point, and maybe beyond (ond…ond…ond).  We close out with Porlock, who is a new setter or a newdonym, so hi Porlock if you’re looking in.

OKeydoke – what have we here – seven thematic clues that need to be interpreted “correctly” (yikes).  Eight extra words and 25 extra letters in wordplay (I think that accounts for all the clues).  Some letters are circled – but it’s all real words in the grid, so let’s solve away!

There is a 1 across, but at a first read I couldn’t figure it out, so a big fail on the 1 across test.  Much better luck with the next one – I tend to hang out with a lot of pierced people (I’m about the only one of my friends with no piercings and no tattoos) so I know all about LABRETS and we are away with an extra letter O.

Filling the grid wasn’t too difficult – there seemed to be a pretty low number of unchecked letters, so even the stranger words like LIRIPOOP (which isn’t a bowel movement made while singing falsetto to hide the pain), NASARD and HYDATID were relatively easy to pick out.  In about 90 minutes I had close to a full grid.

OK – where do we go next… with only two unchecked letters, 8 down looks like it should be BUSHEL (but the clue doesn’t look like it should lead to BUSHEL, so it’s probably one of the “to be interpreted” ones), which would make 12 JULY or JURY (also likely to be an interpreted clue).  The extra letters and words seem to be saying TAKE ONLY CLUES CAPITAL LETTERS AND INSERT IN I A OR ON A(?) NUMBERS ARE SIGNIFICANT.  FOURTEEN LINAS?  I don’t have everything in the circles but it looks like LIVERPOOLST.


A trip to Chambers to check BUSHEL… 8 Gallons – it’s clue 8…  if I take the captial letters there’s G and B.  Aaaahhhh… 8 Gallons in a BUSHEL – and there’s an anagram of GALLON in mortAL ON GLasses.  So 12 is Jury… 12  Good Men And True, a Jury – yep, there’s the anagram.

Aaaah… well that should make the rest of this a romp, right – 4 inches in a hand, 25 pounds in a pony (oh pony, where would crosswords be without you), 31 days in August, 21 spots on a die.  LINAS is 14 Lines in a Sonnet, and Liverpool St is on the UK Monopoly board, so the title is referring to 4 Stations On A Monopoly Board.  LINES and SONNET are in the grid, and 4 needs to be shaded.

Woohoo… except…

Is 22 down PLAYERS or PRAYERS?  22 PFP?  Aaaargh!  I don’t know if there’s 22 PRAYERS in something.  I think there’s 11 a side in soccer.  And it looks like there’s an anagram of FOOTBALL in the clue… there’s a P in there too, and a H.  PLAYERS IN A FOOTBALL P?H?

You’re probably giggling at this point, but I had to put it down for a day before coming back and thinking more about football.  Do they play on a PITCH?  Chambers has “a place set apart for playing or practising a game” so I guess that must be it right?  In goes PLAYERS with a hope that they’re playing and not praying.  I saw a game on TV in Brazil where it appeared they were doing both.

my working grid for Listener 4274, SONAMB by Porlock

This was fun, though the very very last letter frustrated me, so thanks Porlock!  I think I can call it a victory to George, but I’ll come back and amend the tally if it turns out there are 22 PRAYERS somewhere.

2013 final tally:  38-7-7.

Feel free to tell me all about the fascinating pitches where the witches in the britches put the powder on the penalty boxes, and see you next week for the beginning of the new year (and I’m back to submitting and striving for that all-perfectish record) when IOA invites us to get connected.


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