Twisted sisters

Welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword.  I would like to announce that there is a major crisis brewing (or not brewing).  Both espresso machines are out at my local coffee place, and so I am utterly deprived of coffee!  This could be the shortest post ever before I crawl limply towards either my grinder at work, or somewhere open for lunch that has the beans.  The beans!

Time for The Tall’n! I’ve found the last few The Tall’n puzzles to be quite challenging, and the preamble here is a head-swimmer.  There’s thematic entries, extra words and two messages.  Hmmm… well there’s at least real words in the grid.

Both answers in the top left corner are thematic so The Tall’n has deprived us of a 1 across.  There is a 7 across, which looks like it would be easy if I knew where Dushambe is.  Eh, let’s turn to electronic aids right off the bet – it is in Tajikstan, where they pay for their goods and services in DIRHAMS and SOMONIS – one of which matches the wordplay nicely.  So a kind of a pass on the 7 across test.  Woo-hoo?

OK – so a few runs through the across and down clues and I had a pretty sparse grid.  This is not looking promising!  Usually when there are separated thematic clues I leave them for last, because after seeing ASTRONOMY, MUSIC, DEATH and HYMNS straight off giving a message that read ??ACEM – it sounds like we are in mythology area – any chance that M could be the start of MUSES?  SP,LEND,OUR – yep!

Funny coincidence – I’m a member of the National Puzzlers league and sometimes play their online games on Monday and Thursday nights.  One of the more interesting games they play is called “Anti-match”, where someone calls out a question with a limited number of answers and you have to try to pick the one that is going to be the least popular.  A week before this puzzle came out one of the question was “Name a Muse”.  Given only a few seconds to write one I came up with CLIO but that was picked by a few.  I was in awe of whoever managed tocome up with and type POLYHYMNIA correctly in 10 seconds.

Since they were fresh in my mind I tried to fit in the names of the MUSEs and the GRACEs in the grid, and saw a spot where CLOTHO could go, so it looks like the MUSEs, GRACEs and FATEs are all there.  Aaaah – and THALIA appears to the name of both a MUSE and a GRACE.

Goody, that’s all the thematic stuff done, now it’s time to… ummm… solve about half of the clues.  Whoops.

Fortunately – THEY ARE ALL GREEK MYTHOLOGICAL SISTERS as the message helped me see what the remaining extra words were and it wasn’t too long before I slotted in POISHA as the last answer.  THALIA has to replace another six letter word that is not thematic and it was another of my last in that can go – GOALIE.

We have a grid!

my wotking grid for Listener 4447, Influence by The Tall'n

Kind of like last week, slow start, fast finish, though it was a very different style of solve in getting all the thematic material early and filling the grid with the non-thematic stuff (is that maybe the way the puzzle was constructed?).

Nice clues though, and with everything being thematic to a certain extent, it all had to be solved to get the final grid.

Game over – Victory to George, 100% completion.

Feel free to tell me that I’d be good if there was an opening for a muse of stupidity, and see you next week when Nemo writes a puzzle with all the ME’s removed.

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