Crosswords that unite the various abilities of setters and solvers

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.  We are in a transition period here – this one I printed, solved and submitted, but I left before I got a chance to scan the grid, so let’s get it out of the way – the phone picture cropped grid of probable unreadability.

My working grid for Listener 4409,Hidden Philosophy by Xanthippe

Feel free to leave comments on whether it is worth it, because I have two more coming up like that!  There’s a chance there will be some printing facilities available at the conference I am heading to today.

Anyhoo – when this puzzle came up the first thing to notice is the different style grid.  The second is that it is in four quadrants and there is some trickery going on in the clues to each one.  Hmmm, four mini-Listeners in one?

Quadrant A: remove two letters from clues, wordplay only are swimming

I got started on this under fairly uncomfortable conditions – I had just had an optometrists visit, and my pupils were still dilated so I was wearing sunglasses.  And eating tacos at a newish place nearby.  So this is blinding taco corner.

There is a 1 across!  And not only that, it is REAL(is)M and we have an extra A and M (are the removed letters always next to each other?).Woohoo!

I spotted two of the wordplay only clues quickly – SAMLET and SANDER, both of which are fish.  They might be jumbled, since the place where SAMLET has to go starts with an M.  There’s “swimming” in 2 down – aaah, SOLE.  Great – got all the crazy thematic ones, but kind of stuck on the rest of them.  This is frustrating, I can’t move on – I looked at the first part of B and saw what looked like an anagram of SPURIAE but that doesn’t really get me going.

Hmmm… if 3 is an anagram of SOLE, could 6 end with S and be VUGS?  Woohoo!! VUG is a word, and not only that it opens the whole thing up – AMEND A LETTER MISPRINT helps me solve the rest of A quadrant!

Quadrant B:   Amend a letter misprint, wordplay only clues are pollarded

This was two days later, waiting at the hairdressers

It does feel strange to have a completely full area, then move on to a completely empty part of the grid.  Anyway, chunk SPURIAE – it’s a misprint for AROUSE giving UPRAISE.

B quadrant went in very quickly after the struggle on A – maybe it was cottoning on to the style of the clues – ADD A LETTER looked probable as the extra letter, and the wordplay only clues were for trees.

Quadrant C:  Add a letter, wordplay only clues are meandering

Back home now for what I hope is the final stretch.

Well it was easy to see which three were the wordplay only clues since they were much longer than their grid entries and there some extra unclued here. Huh?  Well the first wordplay only clue I solved was MISSOURI do I figured the rest were US states, and yep, there’s MISSISSIPPI but the third doesn’t make much sense.  Anyway, I had ??MOVE?WOR? which makes me think it’s REMOVE A WORD – so I did move on to D before completely finishing C, not knowing what was going on with the wordplay-only answers.

Quadrant D:  Remove a word (I hope), wordplay only clues are up

One of the reasons I’d moved on to D before finishing C was that PSALM was staring me in the face. I started looking for extra words before doing all the solving, and COMPLETE THE QUOTE USING LETTERS FROM was a good start. 43 looked like wordplay for PARROT which could fit in going up.

Finally I am there! Letters from SPRINT ROVER CATCH completing the quote from Adam Smith and quadrant C was meandering (I finished C after finishing D and the quote) – it took a while to find the quote, though it turns out I had it in a collection of essays.

This was a really fun and challenging Listener!  I like it when there are layers to a puzzle and this one had many layers that had to be cracked in order.  Best of all, I think I can claim a Victory to George!

2016 tally – 26-2-3

Feel free to tell me that I should have started with D and worked backwards, and see you next week when Nudd apparently wants us to deface an album.



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