If pianists are animals, what does that make drummers?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, America’s favorite crossword-sometimes-solving blog.  And happy ‘Merica day!  USA USA USA!  The fireworks started up here around 10 last night and don’t appear to be abating anytime soon.  Freedom, apple pie and cryptic clues for all!

Yes, I’ll be spending the 4th looking for an open drinking establishment, and doing the Listener crossword.  I think it’s appropriate.

But before we begin this (since most bars won’t be open for another hour or so anyway), let’s see what challenge comes this week and wrap up last week – over at t’other blog, there’s an interesting setter’s blog by Aramis, pointing out that I missed that TRISTE was an anagram of TETRIS, another nice touch to that crossword.

Now to this week’s challenge – and it’s Nibor.  I failed on the last Nibor (tagged at the bottom) by messing up the endgame, so let’s see if I can keep that run up.  What have we here – letters have to be restored to clues – these make alternating letters of a set (I don’t think I’ve seen that technique used before).  There’s some unclued entries that give a hint to the theme and something to be highlighted.

Hmmm…. well let’s see.  There is a 1 across and it’s a pretty gentle CRAM with an L needing to be inserted.  CAMUS, ATTACH, MATINEE and THEIST later a tantalising proposition is on offer… the person responsible is S??N?S???? and the second letter of the source crosses the second letter… could it be SAINT-SAENS and CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS?  It would fit with the title… let’s put it in and see… WREATHE, SALAAM and MIASMA later it looks like I’ve cottoned on to the theme with five entries solved!

Damn I’m good.

Sometimes.

This means there’s going to be a lot of sursolving – though I didn’t mind much with this one since trying to pick the movements out of the extra letters was pretty fun and I didn’t spot PIANISTS until near the end.  But in the end this took me a little over an hour, and that wasn’t a bad thing, after I got done with this I went back to ironing out the last of the Tetris people – the puzzles went to John Green in the same envelope.

my working grid for Listener 4298, Safari by Nibor

Thanks, Nibor – that was fun, and I suspect if you weren’t as familiar with the theme (anyone who took music at any level in Australia in the 80s was inundated with it), I expect it would have been tricky, though there was a clear way in to the theme.  And a Victory to George!

2014 tally:  22-0-2

Feel free to tell me I had a lucky guess and it won’t happen again, and see you next week when Stick Index plays DJ and mixes some gods.

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