Baby it’s Colditz outside

Welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword, the only weekly crossword blog that never forgets to welcome you back.  And on a spooky Halloween too! OoooooOOOoooooOOOOOoooooo.

Dysart time!  Dysart has teased us a lot over the years, and I’ve tagged the ones that I’ve blogged here.  Dysart is usually good for a fun twist on a theme, and I already see this is going to be good, as we’ve been told to take scissors to the grid.  YES!  Grid mutilation!  Still not the “set fire to the grid” I’ve been waiting for, but this one is going to get hacked up.

I guess there’s other things in the preamble other than the promise of scissoring – missing letters in wordplay, highlighting and finding four companions, and some geography down the bottom.

At this point I was pretty sure we were in Lord of the Ringsy / Hobbitsy territory and we’d be looking for a GANDALF etc.  Has there been a Lord of the Rings Listener?  Surely there has, but I don’t remember one in seven years of regular solving.  I guess I should actually solve it, right?

There is no 1 across so we have to move on to 3 across and F(A)IRED gets us started, woohoo – a big pass on the 3 across test.  And we are away – crossing FAIRED was the first missing wordplay letter, the C from ENCRINAL.

Usually Dysart’s clues are fair and accessible, and this was no exception. the left hand side of the grid came together first, and it looked like at the bottom we are heading to a RIVER somethingorother.  Chambers Word Wizards suggests MULDE, I was hoping there was that river thing before Mordor with all the dead bodies in it.

With about two thirds of the grid full, it’s clear we’re not in Tolkein territory.  I can see DALE on one side (NASCAR? Chip?), and STEPHEN or STEPHENS on the other side.  Hmmm… I don’t remember a STEPHENS and a DALE together anywhere.  Above DALE is LITTLE… wonder if LITTLEDALE STEPHENS brings anything on the Googles?  Aaaaah… escape from COLDITZ with REID and WARDLE… I can see WARDLE in alternating letters across the top, REID can be in a diagonal if is 38 isn’t STRESS… which of course it isn’t, it’s DURESS!!! Aaaah, and 26 is GLEDE (L not being indicated).  Well that takes care of most of the sur-solving, and it is RIVER MULDE.

That leaves me with one last dilemma… I had the A in EARD circled (thinking it was a hidden word answer), but it’s not, it’s ‘EARD so that means my A is not part of the thematic place, which surely has to be COLDITZ, right?  I mean we’re making a castle out of the top of the grid.COLDI I have, and for some reason an extra K that can’t be right, now where’s that TZ?  Must be in that bottom right corner, everything else is pretty clear.

The Z is now easy to spot – 44 is (Z),E,A,LOT

The T took a bit more teasing… 39 down looked like it has to be STOW… but what’s the wordplay… is the T the one I’m looking for?  That makes the wordplay WOS… yep!  So that leaves 42 across where I originally had OKTA with the K inexplicably left out.  It’s got to be OKTA or OCTA… hmmm… finally Chambers comes through with SOCA as rhythmic Caribbean music, and we are good!

My working grid for Listener 4215, Homer by DysartThis was all done and dusted in one long solving session, woohoo!  It went in the mail on Saturday (along with the Brighton Rock puzzle from the previous week – I have been in a bad habit of doubling up puzzles in envelopes which I’m sure pleases Mr. Green no end.  I believe I can call this one a Victory to George and thanks Dysart for another quality fun puzzle on a new theme.

2014 tally:  33-0-7

Feel free to tell me that being so thorough isn’t my thing, and I’ll see you next week when MynoT gives us some punishment… in the dark.

Happy Halloween everyone!  I’ve made the structure of ebola out of packing peanuts and stuck it to my shirt.

Oh, and I know this is about 45 minutes early, but I can’t get this scheduler thing to work properly, and I won’t be near a computer at 11am UK time.  I’m probably disqualified.


2 Responses

  1. Hello George, long time reader, first time poster. Thought I’d mention that Don Manley’s excellent Crossword Companion (I think that’s what it’s called, a Chambers publication) has a puzzle which would satisfy your pyromaniacal/cruciverbal tendencies. Possibly one for your Christmas list… Keep up the excellent blog, always the first place I turn to after the solutions are published.

    • My copy arrived on Thursday of last week – I haven’t started on it yet, but apparently there’s a section on blogs, so I’m hoping I get criticized by name!

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