Ice pick in your grave

Welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword, where today we catch up, if not catch on.

Shackleton!  Last year we had an epic voyage, and from the near-unreadable preamble it appears we are on the way to another one. There’s H and A and D and rows, and expeditions, and names, and misprints.  Hmm…

There is a 1 across and for yet another week there was a big fail on the 1 across test.  In fact I did so poorly on the first few clues I just started scanning for a clue that looked like an acceptable entryway.  Oh, I should mention that I cracked open this puzzle in a rather nice venue – the porch of the tasting room of French Broad brewery, where I enjoyed a beer before going to a show around the corner (a show I ended up being in – thanks Anam Cara!).

Anyhoo, my French came in handy with ALL,ON,S being my first in and a misprint for a K right off the bat.  Hmmm…

I had most of the right hand side of the grid filled in during the first solving session, but nothing was coming to me from the misprints, so let’s pick it up another time.

This was a tortuous solve – I must have picked it up about a dozen times over the next week or so (and at least at one other brewery – this could be the most beer-stained Listener ever).  AMAZON appeared in the grid – that looked promising.  NORTH IS WEST appeared in the the misprints.  Hmmm – up is down, left is up?

Eventually I was so close to a complete grid – I was missing 19 down, 38 across and 35 down.  The messages were still not completely helpful – DOT AND DICK DASH TO ?HE POLE NORTH IS WEST A?D EIGHT FLA?S – FLAGS?  ADD EIGHT FLAGS?  That sounds like an instruction and helps me get TAI CHI for 19.  The wordplay for 35 really looks like DETER, not sure where the G comes in.  OK – a grid!

Now what?  Googling “Dot and Dick” reveals a lot of images I cannot unsee, but eventually I think we have something – the SWALLOWS (not in the grid, but SWALLONS is – so that N is W works here), and AMAZONS series by ARTHUR(in the grid), RANSOME (in part hurried).  So the second row has an anagram for WINTER HOLIDAY which appears to be about some shenanigans and pirates on a frozen lake.

So it appears I’m meant to find something to do with the arctic expeditions that this book is inspired by, but I can’t find anything in the grid that remotely resembles the mess of stuff asked for in the preamble.

My working grid for Listener 4453, Army & Navy by Shackleton

And that is where this voyage ended.  Confused, not slightly sober, and none the wiser as to where to go next. I had heard of the author, never heard of the series of books nor this one in particular, and it was too late to go out and get a copy to find out what is going on.

A resounding victory to Shackleton and the Listener Crossword!

Game over, 65% completion.

Feel free to tell me it should have been blindingly obvious and see you next week when Augeas has a puzzle with only one word that describes me.


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