Eeeeew, the hands are touching, maybe.


Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – and more potential fun and games with either my scanner or WordPress.  Got some bad news for regular readers – my Friday schedule has changed and I now have no break between 10am (an hour before the Listener is released) and 2pm, so unless I get in the habit of writing these up early, which I will shoot for, then posts won’t appear until later in the afternoon, well after the new Listener is out, as is the case today.  So I’ll try, but who knows…

Sabre rounds out the year!  This is another that I printed off in Australia (I thought I had printed the next weeks, but I lost it and had to start again when I got to the US, but you can read all about that next week), which means it came with an even teeny-tinier grid than I’m used to.  OKeydoke – what have we here… every answer needs a letter replaced, and some replacements are identical, presumably to allow for the message to have duplicated letters… hmmm…  tricky.

Well nothing to do but start solving, right?  There is a 1 across and it is a fairly gentle SO(U)L so we are away, woohoo!  In the first session of solving I thought I was making pretty decent progress, clues didn’t seem too bad, I was finding plenty of clashes… but writing the letters that clashed next to the clues didn’t seem to be getting me anywhere… and in some clues like 16 across there appeared to be three clashes (though looking back now I think the N/H clash had to belong to 2 down since it was the only clash in 2 down… though 2 down could be a same letter clash. GAK!

Then came the problem that started with 5 across and got worse with 11 across… surely 5 across is BROMHIDROSIS… but that has one more letter than the grid entry and there’s nothing about more than one letter in any one square… similarly with 11 – that looks like it should be EXPIRATION… and 20 ACANTH and I can’t find any clashes.

Settle down, George… OK, we know there’s something strange about that middle row, maybe the coincidence is that both letters go in it?

Hey, are all entries meant to be real words?

Not sure if it’s WordPress or my scanner, but here’s where I had gotten to…


my wotking grid for Listener 4326, Coincidences by Sabre

It looks badly pixellated on my end, but so do I on occasion.

It was about then that I had my drinks with Poat, who asked me how I was doing on it… I showed him, and said I think there’s two words in the middle row, but I couldn’t work out what they were (I think I had a half-assed idea and it must have been so half-assed that I completely forget what it was).  Poat said he hadn’t solved much more than me but he thought it was MINUTE HAND and HOUR HAND… though it doesn’t appear my clashes are going to work there (I may be wrong on PREACH UP).

And that was that… I didn’t pick it up for a few more days and never managed to work out the last parts… though I also felt a bit weird about consulting on the answer (not that I was likely to submit from Australia).  I hope Poat managed to finish it off, though!

Victory to Sabre (and there have been many) and the Listener Crossword!

Clues of note:

Sabre’s clues were once described to me as a “model of efficiency”.  You don’t find many link words, and there are many of these oh so short charades that make perfect surfaces.

2 Down:  Raises dangerous issue (6)

UPS,HOT – here’s an example – that’s a common phrase that makes for a complete clue

4 Across:  Monsieur’s horrid BO is compounded by this? (11)

BROMHIDROSIS – anagram of M’S,HORRID,BO,IS – even though “is” looks like it could be a link word, it is part of the anagram

5 Down:  Right, frost in Arizona, twice!  What a to-do (8)

R,AZ,MAT,AZ – A little bonus surface there for those who know where Sabre lives (stalker mode on, though he did put George and North Carolina bars in a clue a few years ago) and the typical temperature there.  I was in Arizona once in July and I thought it was where heat death went when it wanted to dry out.

So we did not hit the magic 40, and end the year without cracking the final puzzle.  39-4-9.  That’s 39 solved, 4 missed the point, 9 silly errors.  What will 2015 bring?  Likely more of the same!

Feel free to tell me that it’s bedtime at Neverland Ranch when the big hand touches the little hand, and see you next week when Waterloo presents us with the cryptic puzzle made of nail varnish (21,3,8)


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