More sixes than a smacky-smacky cricket match

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, coming to you live from sunny Melbourne.  Christmas has happened and I hope everyone got what they wanted/deserved.  I got two beer coozies and some beer to go in them, this will probably disappear during the first day of the Third Test (I’ll be at the third day, if India last that long).

Four more Listeners to go before the end of what has been a pretty poor year, so let’s try for a strong finish!  Carte blancheish time – there’s a cross in the middle and all answers are six letters long, so looks pretty likely that there’ll be one nudged up under that cross, most likely 24 since that’s the only one with two clues at the one number, and with the 90-degree symmetry that means I think I know where eight of the answers go without getting started.  A phrase around the perimeter and something to be highlighted, and we know where 6 and 12 are.  But there’s no clue for 6.  We have to eventually shade the word that goes there, so maybe it’s just a placeholder.  OKeydoke…

There is a 1 across but it looks like it refers to another answer, so a big fail on the 1 across test.  Bugger it, let’s go straight to 24 – excellent… WAR GAS and SUIVEZ.  Hey, wait a minute – they don’t start with the same letter!  If WAR GAS was reversed they could go together… let’s see what 12 looks like (unless things wrap around the grid, 12 is a down answer).  RES(OR)T.  Carte Blanche and jumblies?  All real words at least, so WAR GAS becomes SWARGA which checks RESORT (please tell me RESORT isn’t RESORTed – none of its anagrams have the R in the fifth position so I think we’re safe there).

At this point, especially with the 90-degree symmetry it is time to bust out Crossword Compiler.  I’ve used it for solving far more crosswords than I’ve compiled!  Add in the 90 degree restriction and start slotting in words or jumbles.

Fortunately the clues were not too difficult, though I got myself really bogged down in the top right and bottom left – part of this was a lucky stab at HEXADACTYLOUS when looking at possibilities for the last 13 letters around the top left corner.  It was a while later that SIX OF ONE AND HALF A DOZEN OF THE OTHER appeared around the perimeter.  OK, so it’s sixes and twelves, that’s why we have 6 and 12 in the grid. Some of the jumbles were tricky – when I had three answers left to go, two of them were jumbled (INROAD as resort of ORDAIN, IRADES as resort of RAISED and the found-by-pecking VIVDAS). Finally, after one long long session, there is a grid!  Woohoo – been a few weeks since I’ve actually filled one of those in!

So what do we have to highlight – well starting from the S, that IX is poking out.  But “elements in the grid” probably mean the 12 and the 6 that were indicated… TWELVE AND SIX?  Is that short of ONE POUND?  Looks likely…

My grid for Listener Crossword 4323, ONEPO by Artix

Not 700% sure on the final step, but it looks likely. Could it be that I’ve gotten one right for a change?  I’ll post this and see.  Tentative victory to George

2014 tally:  37-3-9

Feel free to tell me which six or half a dozen I’m not quite seeing, and see you next week when Phi goes off!

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