Remind me to politely decline if offered an advent calendar from Bandmaster

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword!  How come I can spend six months living out of a suitcase in a series of borrowed rooms and with rarely seasonally-appropriate clothes and be fine, but as soon as I get back to my own flat, own bed, own wardrobe I come down with a massive headcold?  I’ll try to not let it spoil this one, because I really really got into.

I’ll admit, this looked daunting at the start!Big grid, carte blanche (symmetry – woohoo yay for Crossword compiler), groups of letters in cells, extra words and blank cells.  Sure you don’t want to throw in a playfair, knight’s moves and boustrophedron while you’re at it, Bandmaster?

Good news is that the first clue is eminently solveable, an anagram of LANDSCHIEF for CANDLEFISH, so a big pass on the possibly 1 across test.  I think if I had been able to solve the first down clue then the game may have been up right from the outset, but  SEAL, ORCHIS and MAGICALLY had me really scratching my head.  I went back to cold solving. It was NOT FOR JOSEPH and JOSEPHENITE that caused the penny drop moment – weren’t there other clues I’d solved that had a common word inside?  Maybe they are in the multiple letter squares.  EVANGELS and STRANGELY… ELF-CHILD and DELFT!   Aha – we have already had an Advent Calendar puzzle a few years ago (yes there was, 4117 – Great Expectations by Samuel – which I couldn’t finish).

So now the fun was in finding the gifts, one for each letter of the alphabet and the message ADVENT CALENDAR NOT OPENED.  I’m meant to replace the gifts with numbers for the first letter, but it looks kind of fun in the grid…

my working grid for Listener 4427, Shut That Door by Bandmaster

I binge-solved this – I think it took me nearly four hours but I was enjoying it too much to put it down.  The rest of the people in the house I was staying at said they were worried because I didn’t move for hours.  A fine piece of puzzling by Bandmaster, and a victory to George!

Game over – 100% completion

2016 tally:  41-2-6.

Feel free to tell me that I deserve an advent calendar full of religious stuff rather than what I like (booze, chocolate, video games, booze) and see you next week when Aelfre has a grid that looks like one of those retro musicy things.

 

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