Let’s play two-up with Phi!

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword!

I’m running just a touch late here due to my rash decision to brave the shops on what should be known as “Do not get up out of bed Friday”.  Nintendo teased me with the release of a new 3DS and it was going to be available at a store near me… well if I was one of the first 10 people in line at 5am and someone in front of me didn’t buy multiples.  Grrrrr…

Phi would understand – he did put a bunch of Pokemon in today’s Independent crossword as a sort of Nina.

We haven’t had a Phi puzzle for a while, and I had the pleasure of starting this one, from a printout no less, on a flight heading to Las Vegas.  Woohoo! So what have we here – words that differ by one letter, extra words in wordplay – seems relatively straightforward for Phi, so let’s see where it is going.

There is a 1 across and it is IS,LAY and not only that but even I know ISLAY isn’t Irish so there is our first extra word!  Woohoo!  It also crosses what looks like it has definitions for SHRINE and STRINE so we are off to a particularly good start – not only that but it crosses STARING and SHARING.

About two thirds of the grid was filled in during the flight, where I had my laptop so I could look at Chambers.  I’d found three of the clashes – looks like there are only going to be four, since so far the unindicated letters are all checked, on the main diagonal, and they are all a clash of H or T. HEADS OR TAILS?  That would work with the words I had found so far as extras – they all have a letter of HEADS OR TAILS as the first or last letter.

I’d spotted TAILS on the diagonal during the solve, and it looked like A TOSS was a possibility on the other side of that diagonal but running in the opposite direction.  OR TAILS could be made from letters in the middle – so what is on the other diagonal?  Taking a punt that HEADS OR TAILS started in the bottom right helped full the rest of the grid and find the last clash.

So what is going on the other side?  I HERALD A TOSS?  That isn’t a phrase, is it?  No it isn’t but it is an anagram of HEADS OR TAILS!  I think that’s the last bit we need.

My working grid for Listener 4423, A Bit Up In The Air by Phi

Fun puzzle, and it seems Phi has decided to go easy on us this week (is there a stinker in the works?).

Lazy solving time – I only found 10 of the extra words (CONVENIENT not being one of them, right?).  Since I’m thinking video games, maybe I should bring some video game notation into the blog.  You can finish a game, but you may not finish it 100% (there are very few games I have tried to get 100% on – a few puzzle games like Picross 3D I have 100% completion).

So let’s call this one Game Over – win, with 90% completion.  I’ve been doing the victory thing for too long.

2016 tally: 37-2-6

Feel free to tell me that I should be reading, writing and not playing video games, and see you next week when Ferret sends us out into the field.  I’ll take gully.

 

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