Much more turvy than topsy?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, Goodish Friday / Early Daylight Savings edition.

Hey gang, have you been waiting for me to fail and fail hard?  Smudge provides!  I am completely and utterly baffled, and with all apologies to Smudge, I gave up after finding I wasn’t really enjoying the puzzle.

Here’s the thing – there’s letters to move from one place to another in across clues, and words to move from some down clues and into new down clues with letters adjusted.  I was surprised at how few across clues I could actually solve, even though the surfaces of some of the clues were so convoluted it was easy to pick which words were candidates for the letter move.  This meant I could figure out we had GILBERT reversed and then SULLIVAN forward in the across clues, which sounds like a reference to the recent movie Topsy-Turvy.  Even with moving the letters, I had mostly unsolvable clues – are the surfaces meant to make sense after the moving and subtracting?

Then to the down clues.  More indecipherable surfaces… look at 4 down – Rum babas left boy ensnared by gross craft.  Not that I’m a master cluesmith (my attempts at the Times clueing comp were regularly picked to pieces), but that’s just an assemblage of words.  I have a single solitary down clue solved (CIAO for 11) and it doesn’t seem like it has an extra word or something that resembles a word from 31 down that needs to be added!

I got an email a few days ago saying that this puzzle was ultimately enjoyable, but I’m afraid I never got to that point.  Good news, Smudge – if I couldn’t figure it out and didn’t see the point, it could be a shoe-in for the Ascot Gold Cup next year!

My working grid for Listener 4388, Cycle 20% more by Smudge

Complete and utter victory for Smudge and the Listener Crossword, and a frontrunner in the Empty Grid contest for 2016!

2016 tally:  8-1-1

Feel free to tell me that I’ve completely missed the point/boat/schuit and see you next week when Nutmeg appears to tee me off even further!

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