I thought he’d be more of a minesweeper guy

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, taking lateral thinking to its obvious conclusion.  Ifor’s puzzle from last week seems to have kicked up a mini e-stink, about how the interweebs needed to be used to make the connection to a play nobody’s ever seen a production of.  I wonder if anyone solved it by finding the previous Pirandello play on this site?

So what faces us this week?  Aramis – either a new setter or a newdonym, so hi Aramis if you’re looking in.  Carte blanche grid, answers entered as Tetris pieces, some four-letters, some eight-letters with two pieces touching. Hmmmm.  That sounds tricky.  A bunch of answers to go in the middle squares to take care of checking, the rest coming from some literary bits.  Wow.

I guess we go in and try to cold solve this middle bit, eh?  There is a 1 across and it could be one or two answers… it’s a long one (which may be what she said), and the first part doesn’t seem to make much sense, but the second part is definitely NOES.  Better luck on the next row with W,ALL,A and PER SE becoming TERSE.  Maybe this won’t be so bad.

Fast forward to about two hours later… a little over half of the across clues solved (some of them in bits), but not doing so hot on the tetris pieces clues.  Big problem is that I cannot for the life of me figure out the first or the third one.


What can be done here?

ZEST needs to go along the bottom in an I, and I doubt the editors and vetters would let a setter get away with four unchecked letters of the theme lying across the bottom (yes, this was completely faulty logic as in the end there were two of them on the sides), so that ES near the left hand side looks pretty good.  There’s a LLA in the third row, which looks like a good place to put OLLA – so that O has to stick down into the seond row.  CHOU has to come before OLLA, so it might fit mostly on the bottom row with the U either side of the O in OLLA.

CHO… and a Z?

Could it be SANCHO PANZA?

If it was, that would put both parts of ANODISED on the bottom left and help out a lot!  Now, where does DON QUIXOTE go (a bano surely)?  Doesn’t look like it’s on the left hand side since I’ve got DE thanks to ANODISED.  I penciled it in on the right hand side, but as I was working up that side with the tetris pieces, there was going to be nowhere for EFIK to go (which sounds like a part of an IKEA instruction set), so DON QUIXOTE had to go on the top.

Wow… this was a painstaking crossword… I needed all of the thematic assistance in filling the grid! I didn’t get the quote until I had FIGURA, which I put in a search of the spanish text that is helpfully on Project Gutenberg).  I figured there had to be a WINDMILL somewhere and finding most of it on the diagonal to get the thematic phrase helped out on fitting things together particularly in the top right corner.  I made things harder for myself by checking that I had placed RANT (what an amazing definition) in the grid, when I hadn’t, and was looking for an 8-letter solution to my last clue (UGLY).

Nearly a week of piece-fitting later… a grid!

My working grid for Listener 4297, Tetris by Aramis

Phew – I think I can claim a victory here, but it was a battle!  This was a very very tricky bit of crosswording, and for a while I didn’t think I was going to be able to submit it (I may not have made the deadline).  Thankfully the thematic stuff was the opposite of last week’s – if I hadn’t fluked on SANCHO PANZA early, there would be no way at all I would have been able to complete this.

But it’s a wound-licking Victory to George!

2014 tally:  21-0-2

Feel free to tell me how to get my blocks off and see you next week when Nibor introduces us to his favorite web browser.


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