We’re going to need a bigger quinquereme

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.  Big Grid Day!  Lots of unclued, but it’s Hedge-sparrow and I have generally enjoyed Hedge-sparrow puzzles.

OK – thematic has two non-overlapping wordplay only clues.  The first one looks like SA,LADS but we had food last week so that’s probably wrong.

Across have extra letters, some downs have jumblies to be removed… OK.  No 1 across yet again (of all setters, it’s Sabre who will break the long run of fails on the 1 across test, but more about that next week), in fact we have to go all the way to 6 across, at least it’s JUD(e),AS and our poet starts with a J.  Don’t know many poetic last names that start with a J so maybe we are heading to JOHANNES or JOHN.  Well if you take an O out of COOL AIR and anagram you get LORICA which fits the definition and the first name theory is looking like a good bet.  Can we go three for three?  I,RID – there’s the H.  George you are a solving machine… that comes to a grinding halt on the next clue.  Oh well…

By the way, speed solvers of US crossword do them that way, don’t bother looking for checking letters until the end, just solve using all acrosses or all downs.

So it was back to piecing together grid fills – the anagram of IVORY stuck out in 15 down, so I don’t think SALAD is going to be right, ivory would be pretty painful in a salad.

I was going OK but not great – big gaps in the grid, more of the acrosses than downs solved, 19 looks like it should be PREPARED but why and how?  Time to try to make something of the letters I had in the across clues…


Wasn’t JOHN MASEFIELD a poet?  A trip to Googleland shows that not only was he, but there’s a short poem called “Cargoes” which might be the inspiration for Bjork’s “Hyperballad” which lists off a bunch of stuff.  This is one laden ship!

OK – hands up who else?  With the poem at hand I managed to fill in all of the unclued entries (though the one I was looking at had AMYTHYSTS instead of AMETHYSTS, but 1 down has to be ERNE, right?) and was then essentially done with the puzzle then and there.

There doesn’t really seem to be any need to solve the thematic entries now… I still have a few blanks and some quibbles with the down clues, so I went hunting for the items listed in the poem that hadn’t made it into the grid (most of which appear to be in the first stanza).

There was some devilish fun here – I’m glad I went back and looked at them, because clues like 4 down, requiring the removal of SWEET WHITE WINE, more than half the clue made me giggle – ditto taking PEACOCKS out of 2 down reducing the clue to replacing YR,I in EYRIE with RN to give what I thought it had to be, ERNE.

The ship (in the poem I was reading as QUINQUIREME, but in Chambers as QUINQUEREME) has to be the thematic word required, since all this stuff was aboard.

Sheepishly – here’s a grid, with a grand total of zero of the thematic clues actually solved.

My working grid for Listener 4417, HMS Arcady by Hedge-Sparrow

The poem was fun, the puzzle was fun, but I feel a little cheap in not doing a slab of actual solving, but what is George vs the Listener if it’s not about cutting corners and taking the path of least resistance.  Particularly when there’s a Sabre looming large!  Cheap-ass Victory to George!

2016 tally:  32-2-5

Feel free to tell me that should really be a push, and see you next week when Sabre has a puzzle that describes most of my solving skills.



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