Well that’s exercise for at least one type of muscles

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – the last few weeks have been some of the busiest I can ever remember – I took a professional acting gig to do a regional show for a long run.  Five weeks later, we debut tonight!  Check out this promo video…

Which means that this Listener (and the next few following) were mostly done in various bars as I investigated new watering holes.  There’s no food there, but I highly recommend Bear Waters Brewing for a drink if you decide to come see the show.

OKeydoke – it’s Shark week!  Been a while since a Shark listener, however Shark is part of Rood, and we’ve had a few Rood puzzles (that I haven’t always been stellar at).

What have we here – paired entries.  Oh goody – I have a fondness for paired entry puzzles, though I usually have to get a spreadsheet out to keep everything lined up.  No access to a spreadsheet here, so lots of scribbled notes in the tiny spaces next to clues, which must be even harder in the paper version.

What struck me while I was solving?  The clues weren’t that difficult but several did seem rather long.  I managed to put the grid together in about three pub solving sessions, the major difficulty being pairing the last clues (and trying to figure out where the extra words were from unpaired clues).  I didn’t pay much attention to the extra letters, though I did see LETTERS and GRID there in the message.

my working grid for Listener 4348, Quads by Shark

Now what… five words… TURN NW QUADRANT TO SE… well we have been told to keep orientation the same… so that makes ANIMAL LAMINA and if we over-write SQUITTERS it becomes SQUAMELLA… so that looks OK.  The leaves the top left empty.  Next instruction… five words…


Now the first four words make sense… the fifth?  Aaaaah… initial entries of… something.  Extra words are SUCCESSIVE LETTERS FROM ORIGINAL PAIRED CLUES.  Hmmm…. so do I take the first letter of 10ac and the second letter of 16ac and so forth?  Nope…  Do I take the first letter from 10ac, the second letter from 12ac, the third from 14ac, the fourth from 15ac (looking good so far, DEMI and then the fifth from 18ac since 16ac is already paired?  Nope.   Do I just barrel on through all the clues taking the successive letters omitting the ones that aren’t paired?  That gives me DEMIMO(to make DEMIMONDE) and ELD… so that looks promising.

Aaah, and there’s exactly enough clues to do that – looks like the letters going in are also the initials of the answers that were in the original grid.

Don’t think I’ve ever picked through a clue for the 32nd letter before.

This works well and good until… 31 down (where I am looking for letter number 36) only has 35 letters.  GAK!

Hmmm… OK – well I know finally I have to make a word from ANAGRAM SAME EIGHT LETTERS… I’ve been keeping track and there’s only five letters the same after this re-fill.  Hmmm… I guess I should check that other quadrant – there’s a D,E, and C in there which makes the anagram ACADEMIA.

So what goes in that last cell (the bottom right corner of the top left quadrant)?  According to Chambers it could be an E(that’s out, since that would make nine same letters), a P or a K.  Hmmm…. well it is the initials of the answers to the paired clues, so let’s grab those 36 letters and check them off.

Yep, did all that before realizing there wasn’t even a P in the set of initial letters.  Way to go, George!

My final grid for Listener 4349, Quads by Shark

Wow that was a lot of effort.  I admire the puzzle, but I’m concerned for Shark’s sanity!  How long does it take to make a grid that has a reflective corner, which has initial entries that are an anagram of the new corner, and then writes clues with swapped words and hidden letters in very specific positions.  No wonder I thought the clues looked odd!

Victory to George, a Xanax for Shark!

2016 tally:  17-0-4

Feel free to tell me that there’s no P in pool either, and see you next week when Pilcrow tells us about his favorite Michael Jackson song


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