Burning down the Housman

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.

Another late post, I’m afraid.  Though some things may be changing soon – I have just found out I have severe sleep apnea, and have been fitted for a little machine that should help me get some proper rest.  Over the last six months in particular, I’ve had very little energy, especially in afternoons and evenings, and my writing has suffered from it.

Anyhoo – Little Hare, who appears to be a new setter, so hello Little Hare if you are looking in! Into week 2 of “The Man Who Came to Dinner” when this came out, and one very kind review in, so I was ready to go on the Friday night show, with my little laptop and the Listener to keep me occupied while I waited for cues.

Across clues look normal, down clues have extra words, and then there’s something to hunt for in the final grid.  Looks like we are in the realm of real words and even some normal clues, so let’s see what Little Hare has in store for us.

There is even a 1 across! And in crosswordland, Tom is a cat or a prostitute, and PRO,LOG looks like it works, so a big pass on the 1 across test, woohoo!

Believe it or not, I didn’t get PHEASANT straight away, but I’d just seen ROQUE in another puzzle so I was ready for it.

I got LOIN straight off, but thought it was ALI that needed to be removed, leaving a strange anagram indicator of WATERED, and a message that was contained ALISON. But working through the down clues yielded TWENTY I HEARD… which tickled something in the old memory banks… sure enough it was our second helping of A E HOUSMAN for the year – WHEN I WAS ONE AND TWENTY I HEARD A WISE MAN SAY…

That let me get the rest of the letter deletions (and wave bye bye to ALSION, it was a much more usual anagram indicator of ALTERED), and I had a full grid near the end of the second act.

My working grid for Listener 4393, Vingt-et-un by Little Hare

Now to find things – PEARLS and RUBIES were easy to spot.  CROWNS came next – and it looks like we are making 22 in Roman numerals – yep GUINEAs and POUNDS complete the crosses.  That means the HEART right in the middle of the grid would be what is removed.

I wonder if Housman knew he was writing poems for crossword setters, putting those nice even five- and six- character entries in his poems?

Everything was sorted out before my entry in the third act – the perfect theatre-length crossword!  I rather enjoyed this one, despite getting the thematic material very early on.  Little Hare’s clues with very accessible and fun to read, and the down clues were very good with the deletions scattered throughout the clues.

I believe we can call this one a Victory to George, woohoo!

2016 tally:  11-2-2

Feel free to tell me that to have sleep apnea you need to have brain function, and see you next week (maybe in a timely fashion) when Duck has some expectations he’d like you to rub against.



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