More Morbid March – and a public service announcement to US solvers

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – one pathetic little man’s quest for the elusive all-correctish on the Listener Crossword.  And it appears I have a new foe – not just my own ability to misinterpret themes and forget wordplay, but the US Postal Service.  The day after this crossword came out, I got an email from Colleague regarding my comments on “Rise and Fall”.

You may think that my response is rather belated.  The reason is that your letter dated January 22nd was received by John Green on 18th February.  It was postmarked 22 Jan, Greenville, SC.  The final of the address that you used was “United Kingdom”.  However, there was a large scrawled “ENGLAND” across the envelope.  John Green wonders whether ‘ the Yanks aren’t familiar with “UK” ‘.

Now that’s not as bad as when I once accidentally wrote “United States” instead of “United Kingdom” on the envelope, but really US Postal Service?  I live in Asheville, North Carolina, and recent consolidation means that we no longer have a mail sorting facility in Asheville – all our post goes to Greenville, South Carolina to be sorted.

It appears however, that the US Postal Service does not want UK or United Kingdom on envelopes – see this page on “tips for international addressing

How should I address envelopes?

A hand writing an address on an envelope.


I apologise to Joyce Browning if she gets a bunch of dirty postcards after this.

Well, well, well… now the challenge is on – when I’m really lucky I get a letter from a setter (hey that rhymes).  I would love it if next time I’m a setter letter getter (I could go on for hours), try to address the envelope, rather than “United States” as “America”, “Americaland”, “Mickey Mouse Country” or “Yankee-Doodle Land” and see if it gets here.

And now back to our regularly scheduled Morbid March. I remember reading about the departing of Syd Lexis on the Crossword Centre – and I had hoped to meet him (I need to schedule my next London visit around a regular Gruntlings meeting – last time I was there Tim Moorey graciously gathered as many as he could), as I had enjoyed his previous Listener, all the way back in 2008, and now a trip to the Listener Crossword site reveals he was a half of Danda with the Cheap and Nasty theme (if I’d checked that before starting this crossword I might have sailed through).  I’ve tagged that one at the bottom of this post.

What have we this time – extra letters in wordplay, a quotation, and some unclued entries.  Sounds like Syd Lexis has been borrowing preambles from Dumpynose in the Spectator! (hi Dumpynose, I like your Spectator puzzles).  Real words in a grid again – we are getting lucky with those!

There is a 1 across and looky that anagram PHRENETIC + W and we are away with a a quote beginning with W… WHAT LIGHT THROUGH YONDER WINDOW BREAKS?  Nah, that’s not 1984.

This was not too bad of a grid fill – there were not too many unfamiliar words, and the wordplay in the clues was mostly straightforward – with only one unchecked letter, 7 down was the first hint of the theme, CHAST+ some letter definitely means CHASTE is going in there, and its symmetric counterpart, ?ORTHY looks like it’s going to be WORTHY so there’s going to be a nice aspect of this one.

Might I add, I love it when there’s symmetry in grids and doubly so when the unclued entries are similarly symmetrical!  PRISTINE and SPOTLESS (SPOTLESS was extremely useful, because the last few I couldn’t figure out the wordplay for – BAREST, FAVEL and NULLS all crossed it.  Took a bit of googlying to find the quote.

OK – it’s now many many hours after the solution has come out, and I’m off on a weekend trip using someone else’s hotel wifi, so time to wrap this up… the last part was that the unclued 16 down had to be two words (this wasn’t indicated… that would never fly in the Spectator).  But with it being PURE AND WHOLESOME, things are looking good – we have a grid!

My working grid for Listener 4284, Cruciverbial Creed by Syd Lexis

This was in the mail on Tuesday, along with a message apologizing for all the Listeners I had submitted which courtesy of South Carolina mail sorters, weren’t getting to J. Green until a month later.  A fun and gentle crossword from Syd Lexis, and another luminary blazes once more and fades into the cruciverbial cosmos.

2014 tally:  10-0-0 – the all-correct (I hope) continues

Feel free to tell me that symmetry is overrated, and see you next week when Mr E tells us that now you don’t



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