I’d prefer coffee or a beer

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, where on a weekly basis you can hear an average solver rant and rave and make bad jokes about everybody’s favorite pastime.  Speaking of ranting, last night I actually complained about a clue in email.  The clue used one persons fist name to clue a second person’s last name.  The editor sent me a nice email basically saying… well nothing, that I should cut setters some slack.  It makes me want to set up a fake twitter account for Ximines and call out unsound clues.  Let me know if this is a good idea or a bad idea – I suggested to someone I start a fake twitter account for Schadenfreude, which got a giggle.

Second off-topic rant, a letter arrived during the week from Homer (hi Homer!) which had a pre-folded squeezebox from Going Out In Style as a souvenir.  Homer apparently created a bunch of them to rub in the face of those who completely missed the KEYBOARD and didn’t know how to fold show how the endgame was meant to play out for solvers who were marked as incorrect.

OKeydoke – where are we.  Aedites!  We’ve had a few Aedites over the years and I’ve met the chap, so I’m looking forward to this one.  Funny coincidence, Aedites’ last puzzle was about Charles I, and I just saw Eddie Izzard in Raleigh do a long routine about Charles I.  What have we here – across misprints, a theme, and 21 whopping clashes!  Clashmania.

Well let’s get going.  There is a 1 across, and it looks like D,ULSTER and we’re away with a theme that begins with C.  That was about it for the top left for a while, but ECHO,ED gets us started on the top right hand side, which filled up very quickly and didn’t seem to have any clashes.  I guess the clashes come in clumps and there isn’t a clump in the top right.  As I moved down to the bottom right, that definitely wasn’t the case – there seemed to be so many clashes that even though 28 was clearly BATATAS, it didn’t work with any of the crossing entries except EMBERS and ASSETS.  Hmm… at that point the across answers were looking like CAMELLIA… a trip to Chambers suggests that it is related to TEA, and all the clashes found are the letters T, E and A.

Could it be block capitals for T, E and A in the diagonal of the grid?  That would explain why there were no clashes in the top right, nor had any been found in the bottom left, an.  d that 3 down which was currently unsolved could have up to five misprints.  Technically, this meant I didn’t have to solve 3 down or 29 down, since the entries were going to be filled with T’s or A’s, but I eventually did – SETTEE and RATATAT.  The last thing to be found would be the thematic character, which I guess was hiding in the unclashy part of the grid, and there was LIPTON and then THOMAS peeeking out.

My working grid for Listener 4293, Shrub by Aedites

Woohoo!  I will admit  I never finished the last part of the message from the across but I think I’ve got this one sorted out – and the improbably all-correct streak stays alive for another week.

2014 tally:  19-0-0

Feel free to tell me that I missed it because of the end of that message, and see you next week when we find out how many setters a crossword can be by.

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