Is this a ploy to ensure zero all-corrects for 2015?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, and here it is – the final lastest utterest puzzle of the year.  Let’s look at the preamble, shall we…

Every entry is Playfair-encoded…

Oh fuck me.


Horvendile is probably the name of another setter that has been Playfair-encoded because no established setter would surely wish to inflict such suffering on poor solvers.  Not to mention Mr. Green who has to check grid after grid with no real words in it.  Maybe only four were submitted.

I had a stab at it… I think I can see the logic – if there are crossing letters that match, then the letters that come after them have to be on the same row or column.

This is a 15×15 puzzle where the whole thing has to be Playfair encoded?  Really?

I got one or two of the entries that crept into the playfair square in the middle, which I guess means the letters code into the actual letters of the playfair square unless they are on the same line which they move down a space.

In the online version the playfair square is outlined in green, exactly the color this puzzle was making me.

So NTU are probably on the same line as are ADCE (really) and H and T, but probably on a different line than NTU.  W and Y end up on the bottom line so that means there probably isn’t any WXYZ in the keyword.

The Christmas season is good for crossword lovers – there were Jumbos in the Times, a Saturday jigsaw in the Guardian.  There was no need to spend any more time on this abomination.

So I didn’t.

My working grid for Listener 4378, Present Day by Horvendile.

At the end of “notes for setters” for the Listener the following appears…

The editors regret that they are unable to enter into any correspondence over these “Notes” but will take into account any comments received when making periodic, though infrequent, revisions.

Here is a suggestion for the next revision.  BAN THE PLAYFAIR!

Victory to Horvendile and the Listener Crossword.

2015 tally:  41-3-8.

Let’s hope 2016 will be a bit of a resurgence!

Feel free to give me any grief you want, and see you next week/year, when Kruger treats us to some leftovers.


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