Some weeks I have no i deer

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.  This week coming to you with anticipation and sadness – for the last few weeks I’ve been performing in a rare lead role (top billing, even) as Sir in a brand new play, Prairie Fire.  Is it odd?  Oh yes it is… here I am as Sir.

Me as Sir in Prairie Fire

I don’t often wear a suit or tie, maybe I should show up like this to my next job interview.

Dysart time – Dysart gave us a tricky puzzle last year with a Timothy Leary theme, and I have generally enjoyed Dysart puzzles, so what have we here?  Remove a letter from down definitions before solving.  13 across answers treated thematically, something to highlight and something to change.  That’s a lot!

There is a 1 across, but it ended up being one of the last that I solved – I had T-something written on my printout forever with a question mark next to it.  Big fail on the 1 across test!

Next up though is CE(RUL)E so in it goes.  Fortunately I got most of the top row of the down answers pretty quickly, and ??EY?ENTTOS?AI sounds like THEY WENT TO SEA IN – are we having another Jerome K Jerome themed puzzle?  Haven’t we had the Owl and the Pussycat lately?

Meanwhile on the across side of things – 25 across looked like CRANIAL and 38 across looked like ROSEHIP which are both jumbles with an I added.  Do they all have I added?  ERECT -> RECITE.  THROVE -> OVERHIT!  This is looking good.

OK, so what then is the theme?  Fortunately a bit of googling turned up THEY WENT TO SEA IN A SIEVE which is the opening of THE JUMBLIES by Edward Lear and that explains the I’s and jumbles.  That’s neat!  It also helps me get LANES at 32 down and finish off a tricky Florida corner.

Fortunately with the text of the poem at hand, the engame was pretty swift – there’s the mountains of THE CHANKLY BORE and the TORRBILE ZONE.  Although SIEGE is there and temptingly one letter away from SIEVE, TIVES is not a word, so it is LERNA that needs to be changed to SIEVE to complete the grid.  I wonder if that was a deliberate sneaky trap?

My working grid for Listener 4446, Edwardian pioneers by Dysart

A fairly long frustrating start to this one that was met with a clatter of fun as the penny finally dropped (or the I finally left).  Excellent use of the theme for an ultimately fun puzzle!  This was done in one very long solving session (I think it was around 2am when I finished the highlighting).  I believe I can call this a Victory to George!

Game over:  100% completion

Feel free to tell me that I should go to pee in a sieve, and see you next week when The Tall’n appropriately presents a Listener I can really get under.

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