At last, a Listener that describes me

Welcome back to George vs the Listener, where the obvious could be staring me right in the face and I’ll be missing it.  Colleague time!  I usually do pretty well in filling the grid on Colleague puzzles and then mess up the endgame so let’s see what sort of form I’m in here.  Four-line preamble – looks like all across clues are normal, down clues have some extra letters, and there’s something to hunt for and highlight in the final grid (I know someone who will be looking for a HARE).

OK – it’s been a hell of a day so far, and I have to get on a plane soon – so come back for the exciting conclusion.

Colleague has reminded me that I did not end up writing another puzzle and did not come back to this, like the flibbertigibbet I am.  So here’s some thoughts on “It’s Dark Up Here”

– This was solved in one rather long session (three hours or so) ending up around midnight on Friday.  There haven’t been any super easy Listeners lately, so this was around the shorter end of the time spectrum

– All across clues were normal and the grid contained all real words.  This helps.  I spotted fairly early on the circle connection of the words that had to be removed from the down answers

– I had a completely filled grid before any clue what the theme was.  I saw PAUL and HILDA and googled to get the connection to “Ever decreasing circles”.  I don’t think I ever saw the show but I remember being at a dinner once where Douglas Adams was the guest speaker and he said that the character of Marvin the Paranoid Android was based on one of Marshall and Renwick, I can’t recall which.  Before making some very odd TV shows (I did like “One Foot In The Grave”) they did some radio stuff and produced just about the funniest book ever – “Best Seller!  The Life and Death of Eric Pode of Croydon”. So I think my favorite part of the solving process was reminiscing about Marshall and Renwick.

– OK, so that lead to finding EVER DECREASING OOOOOO in a ring in the middle which was not enough letters, and didn’t include the OR and OD cells.  Hmmm…

– A bit more googling of EVER DECREASING CIRCLES brought up the story of the OOZELUM BIRD, which I thought I had never heard of, but Wikipedia nudged me to remember that it was what they were hunting in “Carry On Up The Jungle”!  It flies in ever decreasing circles and disappears up its’ own arse… I know how it feels!

This was a fun puzzle, and I apologise to Colleague for the short shrift given.

My working grid for Listener 4441, It's Dark Up Here, by Colleague


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