Lack of nose aside, I think the smell is due to his R’s blowing off all the time

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword!  New year, new attitude, new attempt at all-correct, same old occasionally being on time with posting.  No problems like that for Towser, who has a new puzzle eight months after a grid filled with mystery writers.

This crossword appeared as I was attempting to recover from a horrible creeping crud of a cold, so I was relieved for an excuse to make hot toddies on a Friday night and settle in with the Listener.  What have we here – thematic omissions, wordplay only, more omissions and something to highlight.  Hmm, seems like we’re not going to be able to cheat much on the grid, since there won’t be real words in there.

Time to solve!  We are not treated to a 1 across but there is a 2 across and it looks like we should be able to substitute T for R in AFFAIR and make a rum… TAFFIA does the trick and we are away, a big pass on the 1 across test, woohoo!

TAFFIA crosses another gentle anagram of ABDOMINAL, and a clue for FLOORED which doesn’t fit in the grid, so I guess there’s an omission – the enumeration seems to match the answer to the clue and not the length of grid entries, so we’re going to know how long the omissions are… I just know it’s not the F that’s omitted, so the theme isn’t GET THE F OUT, which sounds like a good idea for a puzzle – it also crosses a clue that looks like wordplay for BASSET, though the grid entry starts with A… hmmm

Could the wordplay only clues be dogs?  45 across catches my eye as a compound anagram, and it’s for POMERANIAN, which is funny because over Christmas I played a bit of a video game called Tokyo Jungle where you start as a pomeranian trying to survive in a future city jungle.

It also appears the dogs are all losing their first letters…

And there it is forming along the diagonal – MY DOG HAS NO NOSE

How does it smell?

The olfactory canal is still functioning, it is the hard covering that is absent.

The other bit of thematic stuff is missing R’s from answers, presumably how someone would sound if they had no nose, or as I sounded during aforementioned crappy cold.

Well done Towser for turning a chestnut of a joke into a crossword!  I hope it’s the first of a series, maybe follow up with a wife going on a Caribbean cruise, or a piano player that fits in a jacket pocket!

There was a little sursolving to do – mostly in the bottom left corner, where a sneaky trick of clueing SETTER as “Towser, in this instance” held me up – the last of my thematic entries.  Soon after, we have a grid!

My working grid for Listener 4381, Awful by Towser

This was all done and dusted in less than two hours, so on the easier side, but I did really enjoy the theme, and the clues were rather fun.  And I believe I can call it a Victory to George and the year is intact!  Woohoo!

2016 tally:  3-0-0

Feel free to tell me that there’s no way I’m going to get a grid that has a boy traumatized by a clown together and I’ll see you next week when Malva gives us a ration of migs.

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