Abandon all hope, ye who use Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword where it appears my tastes do not reflect the voters for the Ascot Gold Cup at all.  I did like the puzzle that won (though I made a mess of solving it and I think I even submitted an incorrect grid).  If you’re visiting here for the first time this week, make sure you scroll down a little and cast a vote for Top Of The Square 2014 edition.  There have already been a few votes cast but there is no clear winner right now.

OK… Flying Tortoise.  Subjected me to the musical “Wicked” a few years ago.  What have we here? A quotation to be found, some manipulations, and that’s it for the preamble.  Hmmm… to solving, I guess…

There is a 1 across, and the definition looks like BOON but the wordplay looks like BONT or BOOT.  Chambers confirms BOOT (even after I’d written BOON in the grid) so we have a pass on the 1 across test!  By the way, in that bit of Chambers thumbing, I noticed one of my favorite Australian slurs is in there – BOOFHEAD.  Please someone use BOOFHEAD in a puzzle soon, I’ll be eternally grateful.  Woohoo…  BOOT  crosses OMERTA which doesn’t fit in the spot.  Well I guess that’s treated then.  Hey, why is 21 sitting by itself?  That’s weird, and it’s a 7-letter answer.  AMPLY confirms the M of OMERTA, so there’s probably just some letters missing.  12 is LEAP YEAR, and I can see where L,E, and A go… 14 across is NOWHERE… so if I take the YEAR out of LEAP YEAR and add it to the N of NOWHERE then I can make YEARN.  Are we taking out letters to make words?

Up above that 10 across has two clues.  Hmmmm… the first one is for BELIE which doesn’t fit with any of the letters.  Does it all disappear?  The other looks like FEALTY – ahhh… BELIEF disappears.

A little later, and there is no more BELIEF, FEALTY or CONFIDENCE (completely disappearing from CONFIDENCE TRICK).  ASSUME, AIM, EXPECT and DESIRE – with the finding that there is a DESIREE potato complete the grid.

Now what?

We are meant to rearrange a string to find a quotations… hi ho, hi ho, to ODQ we go… there’s a lot of quotes for HOPE, but since they all lose HOPE, it looks like we’re down to old Dante… ABANDON ALL HOPE YOU WHO ENTER.  And it’s on the gates of Hell, which means Flying Tortoise considers this crossword more damnable than it was.  Looks like most of the letters are in the perimeter… let’s get circling.

And they are not all in the perimeter?  Whaaa?  Not only that, but the quote is three letters short of three sides of the perimeter.  Not even room for a HERE?

Surely this has to be the theme…

I Googled the quote, and there’s a lot of versions floating around.  Bartleby comes up with a translation that does fit the outside of the grid.


This one does have all the letters.

Let’s rewrite the preamble, shall we?

A string of letters in the completed grid must be rearranged to show, in a thematically appropriate position, a quotation (not using the words or order found in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations) which solvers of Listener crosswords must Google repeatedly, which also describes treatments that affect some entries.  The Chambers Dictionary (2014) is the primary reference, 17 and 21 are in the Oxford Dictionary of English, George’s brain is fried and in the gutter.

Much better.

I assume this was the version desired (I forgot to scan my grid, I’ll add it later), so I can call it a half-hearted victory to George?

It appears the marker accepted about anything… I should have just drawn a gate.

2015 tally:  7-0-0

Feel free to tell me that I didn’t have any hope to abandon in the first place, and see you next week when it seems Rubik gets a run for his money.



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