Nostrum? More like Noclue!

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, brought to you today by global confusion in Daylight Savings time – after Sunday England, the US and Australia will all be on Daylight Savings time, until next weekend when Australia drops off.

OKeydoke – what have we this week?  Mr E!

There was a lot going on here – the preamble said 2 modified clues, 25 extra letters in wordplay, two modified entries and two jumblies.  Wow that’s a lot.  At least it appeared that the grid was going to contain real words.

Which was a saving grace – I don’t know if it was using very tricky wordplay to get the eventual message in but I had a really tough time with these clues, and a lot of answers went in using what at Times for the Times they call “biff”ing (bunged in from definition).  Fairly early on I figured out DIRECTION wasn’t going to play nice with the rest of the grid, and although I had written it next to the clue with a question mark, it took me longer to realise that PLEASE was the other answer (I already had L from ELMO and R from BRIERED so I didn’t write PLEASE into the grid).

My way to the theme came out of a hail Mary from 2 down – with ??IL?R there and knowing I had letters from PLEASE and DIRECTION, SAILOR sounded like an option – the rest of the letters are an anagram of CENTIPEDE, and Googling SAILOR and CENTIPEDE together brings me to a Huxley reference to the Lewis Carroll “Why is a RAVEN like a WRITING desk”, with the rejoinder “There’s a B in both and an N in Neither”.  THERE’S AN N IN NEITHER is the right number of letters, so that must be what we are looking for.

DRIVING TEST can become WRITING DESK and RIVEN can become RAVEN.  A bit more juggling and I have a grid.

My working grid for Listener 4440, Nostrum by Mr E

What I don’t have anywhere is THERE’S AN N IN NEITHER.  Hmmm.

I drew a line through the middle to see if anything popped out.

And I am stumped.

I never became unstumped.

Victory to Mr. E and the Listener Crossword… no clue what I’m missing here.

Game over – 75% completion?

Feel free to tell me that I need to brush up on my Carroll, or Huxley, or whoever, and see you next week when Colleague describes the state of my brain.


One Response

  1. I’m glad someone else was stumped. I saw ‘LEGS’ at the end of the middle row, and thought the answer might be along the lines that they both had SEA and SEE (C) LEGS, but couldn’t get the right number of symmetric lights filled. Ah well, there goes my 60% record!

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