Gumby flower arranging

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, the blog that comes out sometimes before the setters blogs over at that other site.  It’s been a rough week here at GvL central – how bad, do you ask?  I have not had a single drink since last Sunday!  Now I’ll be rectifying that in a big way, as soon as I get this submitted, the new Stick Insect Listener and I will be taking a trip to Charlotte St Pub for some quality time.

OK – Kea time! When the grid came off the printer, I was reminded of the strange grids you would get in the HEX Atlantinc Monthly puzzles (a series that kind of lives on monthly in the Wall St Journal now) where the grids often have a thematic shape.  This one looks like a flower, with answers curling inward.  Not a lot to the preamble, there’s a theme and something unclued. Let’s see how this grid goes…

There is a 1 clockwise, but I didn’t see it at first (it was one of my last in), so a big fail on the 1 clockwise test.  With 2 clockwise being PUP,ARIA we are in to the grid in a big way! Not much to say about the solutions – although there are checking letters a plenty, I treated it like a carte blanche for the first few runs through the clues, eventually jotting in checking letters on the side.  The way in to the theme came from seeing the possibility of CORN MARIGOLD which rang a bell from somewhere – a trip to Chambers tells me it is one of those flowers I can never spell, a CHRYSANTHEMUM.  That fits the number of asterisked cells, and a look through the other unclueds offered POM POM and KOREAN as other types.  I must have done a puzzle with this theme before (Spectator perhaps), as I usually know nothing about botany, but the names of mums came pretty quickly.  There was a grid in under an hour.

My working grid for Listener 4467, Theme of the Day by Kea

Which gave me more time to go bang my head against Somniloquent’s puzzle from last week that I still didn’t finish.  Oh well…

Cute grid, nifty theme, and a bounce back in a big way, woohoo! I believe I can call this one a Victory to George.

Game over, 100% completion.

Feel free to tell me to arrange them nicely in a vase, and see you next week when Charybdis gives us a skin and asks us to visit the king.

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