One for nein!

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossnumber.  Yes, it’s that time of the quarter again!   And it’s Elap.  Oh dear…

Surely every solver has a setter who is a nemesis.  For a long time with me it was a triple-header of Phi, Schadenfreude and Sabre.  As I got marginally better at solving, the fear that those setters brought into my brain was gradually softened.  That doesn’t mean I find them a cakewalk now, but I can usually get somewhere.

I now know who my real nemesis is – Elap!

Seven Elap puzzles, and rarely have I made it as far as a half-filled grid!  A few have been completely empty gridders!  At the end I’ve smacked my head and wondered why, but I bet you know where this is going, gentle readers.

OKeydoke – there’s letters in the clues that are numbers made up of perfect squares… I doodled all the possibilities between 1 and 99 on the bottom of the puzzle (I believe there are 18 of them).  Since 1 is a possibility, it seems the best place to start is to look at the shorter entries and see what appears.  I and Y figure quite prominently, and since IY + YY+ I is a 2-digit entry, that limits I and Y to be 1, 4 or 9.  I + Y is also a 2-digit entry, which eliminates I and Y being 4 and 1.  So I have come to the conclusion that one of I or Y is 9, and the other is 4 or 1.

Pretty slick sleuthing for an amateur, I must say.

My working grid for Listener 4347, Pairs by Elap

It would have been even better if I’d gotten anywhere else!  Hours of playing with the possibilities for I, Y and T got me absobloodylutely nowhere.  From the preamble it appears solving the puzzle should have been the easy part, since there’s a whole second step.  Yikes!

Once upon a time I was good at the numericals – I guess the problem here is there’s either a trick or an obvious logic step that is completely eluding me, and there is probably only one way in.  I’m not about to give up on the numericals yet, but I am really struggling with them lately.

Victory (yet again) to Elap and the Listener Crossword!  This year’s Empty Grid awards may be all numericals!

2015 tally:  16-0-4

Feel free to tell me what blisteringly obvious logical step I’m missing, and see you next week when Shark apparently wants to work a muscle group.

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