Isn’t there a THIRTYTOO bridge near Edinburgh, or am I confusing it with the Fourth?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, where WordPress has eaten the original post.  I hope there weren’t any great jokes in there now lost to the cosmos (yeah, right).  It also ate my scan of the grid, not that I know if this is the most exciting one ever.

Pilcrow time!  I’m still a little reeling over Pilcrow’s last few letter-turning Listeners, so let’s see what we have here – that’s a long preamble!  Unclued entries, definition misprints, omitted letters – looks like real words in the grid again, woohoo! I guess we should get to solving and let all this unclued stuff sort itself out.

Sidebar – doesn’t it seem like there’s more unclued lists in the Listener lately?  Seems to be the stock-in-trade of the Spectator, but I don’t recall a lot of it here.

1 across is unclued, as is 6 across, so Pilcrow has me resorting to a 9 across test… looks like an anagram of FLOUNDER and something – UNDERFLO,OR!  So we have a misprint L.  OK, maybe that was word not having a 1 across test as it gives a big word right near the top of the grid.

I should mention the first solving session of this was at the rather wonderful BearWaters Brewery Tasting Room.  It’s kind of out of the way, hidden in the back of an industrial park, but the beer is good and the patrons are friendly, if a little crazy.  Don’t sit too close to the darts boards.

Second sidebar – know what is in with kids these days?  Boy George!  While trying to type this out I was told by a friend’s daughter that her sixth birthday party is going to have a Boy George theme.  There will be much tumblin’ 4 ya.

OK, back to Pilcrow – the left hand side of this puzzle went in far faster than the right – I think I had a complete left side (except for 1 across) before much beyond OCTAPODIC was in on the right.  This meant I had ?YOT down the bottom left which has to be EYOT which is a small island.  Are we doing sizes of land masses?  More disturbing was it looked like the very middle was going to be SIXAINE… sizes of things?

From the omitted letters something was emerging – FRANCIS… Bacon?  But if that bottom right entry could be BENEDICT then it looks like we could be in the realm of recent Popes… FRANCIS, BENEDICT and then two (one rather short-lived if I recall) JOHN-PAULs.  Aaaah!  That is what 1 across is.

The definition misprints looks like they have INSTRUMENT and PEACE in there, so that leads me to LORD MAKE ME AN INSTRUMENT OF YOUR PEACE and now I have the last few sorted out.  I can see what popes might have to do with SIXAINES, but what does a pope have to do with an EYOT?

The top right is still pretty barren…

With EFTSOONS in the grid, it’s time to look at these unclued entries that are not popes…  ?YOT (presumably EYOT), WO?, ?OO, ?OR? and SIXAINE.

EYOT is pronounced EIGHT… WON, TOO, FORE, EIGHT?  But SIXAINE doesn’t sound like SIXTEEN?  Maybe it’s the OED, presumably non-chambers word.  Aaaah – and there’s CARDINALS in a row of the grid!

I don’t have OED, but a OneLook search of the unknown letters yields SIXTINE which is in Mirriam-Webster (hat tip to NPL-folk who are heading to Vancouver soon… I’ll make it to one eventually).  And the highlighting of CARDINALS and SIXTINE makes a cross.

Interesting puzzle – weird combination of elements, but it all works out in the end – and a rare case where there was no sur-solving, the last piece of thematic material was the last entry to go in!  I think I can call this one a Victory to George!

2015 tally:  18-0-4

Feel free to let me know that when you drop a pontiff from a tower you get a pope smear, and see you next week when Elfman strips John.

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