How can he be Haydn when he’s the only one on stage?1

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, again coming to you live in the hangover of a night of gin and debauchery following a trip to the Melbourne Star.  It’s like the London Eye only smaller, came along 10 years later, and is in a strange park which blocks the view of everything mentioned in the narration.  I would like to re-write their banter… “if you could see through buildings, you might catch a glimpse of the MCG”.  Anyhoo, it’s Listener Time!

Phi!  I was beginning to wonder if Phi had retired from the world of the Listener since it’s a long time since since we had to erect a castle.  This puzzle also appeared the day before I set off on my current junket, so the first time I took a look at it was in the international lounge at LAX.  Technically no man’s land, but everything takes American currency.  And beer costs $11, but that’s beside the point. There was even some wifi, woohoo!

So what have we here – some misprints, some letters that have to be removed, and then some erasures (not burning – though it’s a total fire ban in Victoria today so solving a Listener that required you to set fire to the grid would be technically illegal).  So it looks like we have all real words in the grid and away we go then…

There was a 1 across and the wordplay looked like it was heading to WAURST or WOURST, so a peek in Chambers confirms WAURST and we are away!  Big pass on the 1 across test, woohoo!  1 down looks like an anagram plus a few extra letters, and there’s WOODCRAFT with an extra UR.  Off to a flying start…

By the time my flight had boarded I was in good shape – had a bit over half the grid filled, I could see AUDIENCE peeking out in the fifth row and what looked like it could be FAREWELL if 26 was FARE (and it was – we had to take NCY out to get FA – there were a few sneaky tricks like that in finding the letters to remove), and with the misprints Y, D and N, I think we could be in the realm of the most crossword-friendly composer in history.

I wonder if Haydn knew that sort of thing?  I know – I’ll write a bucketload of symphonies and give them titles that fit well in crossword grids!  That way I’ll go on forever (like a few of his symphonies).

Finally in Australia, it was time to polish this one off.  My parents are wonderful, kind, compassionate people, who completely do not understand that for a short time each day I have to be left completely alone to complete crosswords and write scripts.  They take it one step further and try to be helpful… at this point I’ve done the obvious and googled “Haydn farewell” and found out about the symphony that involved musicians leaving the stage, if wikiooglebing is to be believed it was to send a message to prince hogtheband.

Advice I was given by my parents (mostly my father)

– HUMUSY isn’t a word.  You’ve got to change there.  Maybe it’s HUMMUS

– You’d stand a better chance of solving it if you didn’t circle so many things.  How can you tell what you’ve written in there

– So you don’t have to just finish the crossword, you have to do something else.  Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of finishing the crossword?

– Maybe you could make the cat a dog (that was in response to a script I was working on at the same time).

Finally – and I tink it was the RDE coming from ORDER that was the last part I needed, I found all those deletions, leaving Haydn sitting somewhere to the right of stage.  Can’t scan my grids here, but I believe I’ve got it all out, with the STAGE, AUDIENCE, FAREWELL SYMPHONY and a lone H in the top third of the grid.

That was rather fun and dare I say more gentle than the last few Phi offerings, and I believe I can claim a victory to George!  There may be a silver lining to the end of the year after all.

2014 tally:  38-3-9.  Two more to go to see if I can crack it for 40 (yikes and one of them is Sabre)

Feel free to tell me that I need to ditch the obvious pun with Haydn and see you next week for an extra special edition of George vs the Listener crossword, when Poat offers a Christmas Break and finds himself facing a New Year’s nightmare.

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