In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll have a (Sir Alec) Guinness(cide)

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, time-warped edition.  I thought that I was going to be late in posting, but I had forgotten that we in Trumpistan have already started daylight savings cos ‘Merica and some of you in less armed nations have not.  Upshot of which, I might actually have a timely post.

New setter this time, so hi Emu if you are checking in.  What have we here – an unusual 11×14 grid, extra characters in clues leading to some stuff to do with the grid, which ends up with some lines in it.

There is a 1 across, and for a setter with a very Australian nickname we end up with a very American entry into the grid as A(D)MASS with an extra A goes in, so a big pass on the 1 across test!

Interesting grid – there were a number of long entries, particularly in the downs, and a set of double unches, but BANKER’S DRAFT really opened up the right hand side of the grid that filled pretty quickly.

I was getting close to a filled grid when I started wondering about the theme – I had spotted GENERAL as a possibility in the second last row and AGATHA close to that, but I didn’t put two and two together until unraveling some of the message – googling “simple faith” and “blood” brings up AND SIMPLE FAITH THEN NORMAN BLOOD from Tennyson, which is preceded by KIND HEARTS ARE MORE THAN CORONETS, which explains what the GENERAL and LADY AGATHA are doing in there – we are in the classic tale of murder up the chain!

At this point my admiration for the puzzle grew immensely – our “hero” is offing the ASCOYNE’s, so the lines make sense, and once we have struck out LADY AGATHA, ASCOYNE, the BANKER, GENERAL, DUKE, ADM, REV and HENRY we have the shape of the end of a game of hangman, and of course in the end, Louis hangs.  We finish the game of hangman by circling the one vowel to make the head.

My working grid for Listener 4387, One-man Band by Emu

Reminders of a very fun film (and it has also been made into a play that a friend of mine saw on Broadway over Christmas) and a puzzle where every piece of thematic material makes perfect sense.  I’ll begrudge the double-unch, which isn’t in a thematic area, and say this is an outstanding debut puzzle by Emu, a lot of fun, and I think I can call it a Victory to George.

2016 tally:  8-1-0

Feel free to tell me that St. Patrick’s day was yesterday and see you next week when Smudge tells me to get back on the bike



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