All I learned from orienteering is how to start a fire by rubbing two boy scouts together…

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – coming to you today from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  I’m plugging my upcoming show – a new production of “The 39 Steps”, which I understand is also running in London at the moment (timing!).  Of course I forgot to scan my grid before I left, so this may get updated with a picture later.

Samuel time!  If there’s one thing we can be sure about with Samuel there’s going to be a lot of thematic stuff in the grid (sometimes even a build-your-own grid).  This time it appears we have to draw lines on the grid, and there’s going to be lots of thematic stuff hidden in clues – some in the form of extra wordplay elements, some in the form of definition misprints.  Looks like it could be tricky, but it’s another week of all real words in the grid!  Not that I’m complaining, but letters latent and the like seems to have fallen out of favor.

OK… let’s do this!  There is a 1 across, and it’s a fairly gentle anagram of MISS+E for SEISM and a misprint of F.  So we begin with a 6!  That usually only happens when I’m bowling!

SEISM intersects with SCRAPER (another 6?  Cricket theme?), EOAN (extra S in wordplay) and IMP (another extra S), With ASPER slotting in at 5, the theme is apparent pretty quickly, as the unclued 12 looks close to COMPASS, and all the extra wordplay letters I’ve found so far are S, N and E – there’s going to be a bit of scouting involved!

Knowing this helped the rest of the grid solve, particularly knowing that the misprints are likely to be in the first few places in the alphabet (the grid is only 12×14, so at a pinch misprints could go up to N), and at the end of a pretty long solving session, I had a full grid, COMPASS and SENSE OF DIRECTION as the other essentials, a misprint of A/O near the bottom left, and for some reason GVG near the middle that were omitted letters from wordplay.

OK… what to we get from these extra letters and misprints – N 6, SE 2, NE 2, S 6 – that looks like it makes an M.  NNE 6…  aaaaah – it’s going to be a MAP and the GVG is the crossbar from the A, since that is difficult to draw in a single line.

Good good, now we just have the resolution of the clash… for some reason I was thinking OREINTEERING was only 11 letters, but it’s 12 isn’t it?  And the start of the MAP is at an A or O… aaaaah, and the vertices are the rest of the letters in ORIENTEERING!

Well… after last week’s debacle of the theme (thanks to all of you who pointed out the BOUND/UNBOUND connection, I still think that I would prounounce AESCHYLUS as “fast and loose”), I think I may have all of the thematic material correct this week!  Another very fun and jam-packed grid from Samuel and a Victory to George

2015 tally:  15-0-3

Feel free to tell me which direction my moral compass points, and see you next week when Towser refuses to conform!


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