Rounding out the year… sometimes I slay myself

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – this appeared on the website on New Years Eve Eve and I was rather happy to see Lavatch’s name attached to the final puzzle for 2016.  It has been a while since we have had a Lavatch puzzle, but it is a name I am delighted to see on the Spectator series (including an excellent one last week – 2292, Discovery).

Anyhoo, it was a cold and quiet Friday afternoon, so let’s get stuck into it. To be honest, the preamble reminded me of Spectator territory since the unclued lights are of a type (fortunately without the appendage “verifiable in Brewer’s”.  Misprints in ever clue, misprints, misprints everywhere!

What would be 1 across is not only unclued bu unnumbered, which means we have to go to a 5 across test, and Lavatch does not disappoint – AP(PET,IS)E and we have a correction of H.  First letter of a message is an H?  Can an I,G,H,L,I,G,H,T be far away?  The I is looking good – anagram of BILL and PAUSE making PLAUSIBLE.  W(H)IT,Y – you betcha the highlighters are coming out!

This was the theme – I never got stuck at any particular point, and with it looking like GEAR, CATHERINE and FERRIS were three of the unclued entries it seems we are heading towards WHEELS.  The message also came together HIGHLIGHT — QUOTATION IN SYMMETRIC FORM appeared first, it took a little fiddling to see the second work was THEMATIC (mostly because I misspelled SYLLEPTIC at 40 across and so had a T instead of an I as the correction.

So that means the grid-staring section – helpful THE three rows down, and WHEEL coming off of it – I figured we would be looking for a quotation in a circle and it is also a quotation about a circle – THE WHEEL IS COME FULL CIRCLE!

My working grid for Listener 4431, Round by Lavatch

This took a little over two hours, but it was fun all the way and do themes ever get tighter?  Thanks for rounding out the year in style, Lavatch!

Game over – 100% completion!

The end of 2016 sees my record as 44-2-7.  Not spectacular, but not too shabby.  Who knows what 2017 will bring.

Maybe it will bring me hitting the publish button in a timely fashion… whoops!


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