All 28 survived??!!?? I can’t lead an expedition to the pub without losing three or four.

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.  We are into part 3 of puzzles solved during breaks in The Man Who Came To Dinner, and part 2 in a now 4-part series of “the grid is finished, what now?” puzzles.  This time it’s Shackleton.

I’ll admit I was pretty daunted by the preamble, which talked of four messages, jumbled thematic material in the end, the same thing going in the blocked off entries, things to highlight, cells with two letters and a “method” of grid entries.  Yikes!

Not only that, but there was a 1 across and I coudn’t for the life of me get it at a first glance, so a big fail on the 1 across test.

It wasn’t until 13 across that FRAU(d) got me going and a strange situation where the first letter in the message is a V!

For such a long set of instructions, once I got going the grid fill wasn’t too difficult – SURETE and O-RING were in before I solved 7, 8 or 9 down so it was obvious they were going to be entered in reverse. The crossing of SCHEME with REGIME gave the first placing of a double-letter cell, and having the answer lengths confirmed it was the four cells adjacent to the blocked off cell in the middle that had double letters.  By the end of the play, I had a complete grid, and a plausible tale of nautical derring-do from the messages, twice using the number 3 in the clues, which was coast.

Great.  So now what?

I have no idea what this tale is meant to be about.

Fortunately the answer came from typing the second message into google – ACROSS THE TEMPESTUOUS SEA lead me to the tale of Ernest Shackleton (no relation, I presume) and a pretty audacious tale of rescue after abandoning the ENDURANCE, with six people getting in the little boat the JAMES CAIRD around the middle of the grid, and trying to get to ELEPHANT ISLAND – there’s ELEPHANT ISLE snaking along the bottom.  Hmmm – two options for the T?

Eventually they ended up at SOUTH GEORGIA, which is across the top of the grid – aaah, I did pick the wrong position for the T at first.

All 28 men survived – so the original crew is the roman numeral 28 across the bottom, with the VI (6 across – cute) making their way to the other side.  I think that solves all of the highlighting/line drawing needs.

My working grid for Listener 4395, 6 Across by Shackleton

What a crazy story!  And an impressive job of putting it all in the puzzle. Got mixed feelings about this one – I enjoyed the ending, but it wasn’t really relevant to filling up the grid, leading to a frustrating “OK, I have a complete grid, now what” moment, ending in a theme that I suspect had to be found online, as there’s nothing in Brewers.  Maybe an encyclopedia, but who has those anymore?

I think I can call this a Victory to George!

2016 tally:  13-2-2

Advance warning to setters – now that my apnea is under control and I have some more focus, I’ve started writing letters and submitting entries.  So feel free to tell me that I should buy a set of encyclopedias, and see you next week when Pointer may or may not come up with a grid that leads to head-scratching (spoiler alert – no).



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