Freddie Mercury took to his grave the secret of whether Scaramouche would do the fangango

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – and a return to the kind of normality from six months ago.  Back in Asheville at last and it only took about three shots at cleaning the print heads on the old inkjet before the big black machine started churning out crosswords printed on the back of unusued participation certificates.  We have normality, I repeat, we have normality.

Which is good, because I would have had a hard time with the circular grid without having a printout – crossword compiler doesn’t do circular grids (that I know of – feel free to tell me I have no clue how to use that software as well).

Aelfre!  I thought this was a new setter but it appears to be another alias of Salamanca (I didn’t know that until just now)… circular grid with crossing (and it appears very generous crossing) rings.  Some in, some out, and a line (presumably from a song).  This looks like it could be deceptively straightforward, hmm?

There is a 1 (in/out) and it is a nice gentle reversal of DE,SUER for REUSED and so we have a big pass on the 1 in or out test.  Then I realised I should have started with the arcs, since we know where all of them go… d’oh!

If I’d remembered ENID was a place in Oklahoma I would have been off to an even more flying start, but it was ERAS that went in first, confirming that ASIANS went inwards.  AVIARY, LEGLIN and MALGAM later and I have GALI in the third ring.  Is it Bohemian Rhapsody?  6 is HAMLET and this is looking promising.  I put in GALILEO and looked at the outer ring – LYMAT  suggests that the quotation is NOTHING REALLY MATTERS.

Hooo boy!  I’m 46, I was just starting high school when Queen made it big in Australia, and I was a huge fan.  I never had this as a single – I had vinyl copies of most of the albums.

With the outer ring filled, it was back to the radial clues, now knowing the first or last letter of each – this was all done in well under an hour, one of the fastest Listener solves ever for me.  Aelfire’s clues were fun and direct, so I didn’t mind having the thematic material in place with only six clues solved.  EMI appears in the scratches.

listener_xwd_4428

Fun theme and a new use of the spherical grid.  There have been some other outstanding uses of the spherical grid (Brighton Rock comes to mind) over the last few years.  I believe I can call this one a Victory to George and Game Over with 100% completion.

2016 tally, with three to go (fear not – at least one more will be a bust) 42-2-6.

Feel free to tell me that I should have misspent my youth in better places and see you next week when Paddock decides it is time to put away Cards Against Humanity and bring out Battleships

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