I’d like to take you on a symbolic journey through the world of time and space

Welcome back to George vs Deadlines.  This time it’s a mildly amusing story – as soon as I had made coffee and was ready to sit down and write this… fire alarm!  Had to leave a steaming pot of coffee (I’m already in trouble for stopping to grab my laptop in a fire drill, I’m sure I’d be in severe trouble for rescuing the coffee carafe) and this blog, and by the time I got back in my whole day was thrown out of order.  So welcome to the Friday night glass of cheap port edition of George vs the Listener Crossword.

Featuring the second puzzle of the year and it’s MynoT.  I made a bit of a hash out of the first few MynoT puzzles, but lately I’ve tackled him pretty well.  This time we have a jigsaw grid and anomalies with one unclued entry and some clues having extra letters in wordplay.  OK… guess I should just go solve it, right?

Jigsaw clues mean who knows what goes at 1 across (though there is a 1 across), but the first clue is a gentle ACT(A)S so solving is underway.

I did pretty well with a first run through the clues, and it appeared the best bet for the top left, where two 10-letter entries intersect was the PANEGYRICS/PINSTRIPED pairing, helped with NOUGATINE and IWI helping knit it together.

This nice start led to the first pieces of major confusion – it was clear one of the long down clues was going to be TRANSsomething, and probably match the clue that begins “America is engaged” but there isn’t 11 spaces.  In fact there don’t appear to be any 11-character or 8-character lights, despite there being clues that had 8- and 11- letter answers. Hmmmm

As the grid was coming close to being filled it was obvious there was a key here somewhere.  It was back to this first conundrum that got me started – if it was TRANSFUSERS crossing MARCESCIBLE, then MA and RS had to… OH – MARS.  So somewhere up the top I was pretty sure URACIL had to go, so if it met something that ended NUS, like CRONUS, then we have some planets.

And they are all on the diagonal, I guess close to their relative positions from the sun… oh and the sun is also there at the bottom!

I never quite finished the message but it was SYMBOLI?S?CLASHES – so we are meant to replace the planets with symbols.  I had a bit of a hard time finding the symbols – I could have sworn they used to be in Chambers, maybe they were in older editions?  They aren’t in Brewer, so I’ve got to rely on online lists.  I am still not 100% sure which Earth symbol was required.

My working grid for Listener 4380, Stomach by MynoT

I’ve just peeked at the solution notes on the Listener website, and it appears there was a little latitude as to the choice of symbols, so I think my entry will be accepted.

I finished this in one pretty long session with a few breaks (maybe four hours total) so it was a little more difficult than the first puzzle of the year, but once I saw the theme it was a pretty quick finish, particularly for a jigsaw.  I believe I can call this one a Victory to George!

Feel free to tell me that I should really write these blogs in advance or when the puzzle is fresher in memory, or just lock yourself in during a fire alarm since it would be a mercy killing, and see you next week when Towser describes my solving skills perfectly.

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