Ducking (punches) and weaving (down the slippery slope)

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, and a post that will hopefully be on time since I’m writing it a few days beforehand and scheduling it.  Oooh – it works on that other blog so probably it should work here right?  Let’s see.

Ifor time! A scan through previous Ifor Listeners shows I can usually get the theme, and often miss something obvious and important, so I have a pretty terrible track record.  Ifor’s listeners usually involve a long engame, but this one with a carte blanche grid and clues without answer lengths looks like it is going to have a long foregame.  What do we have here – two(!) extra letters in wordplay.  Locations and two instructions.  OK, so real words in grid, and one cell has two letters.  Rather a lot going on…

Well in lieu of a 1 across there is a first alphabetical clue, and while the definition and part of the wordplay is definitely pointing at ADAGIO, that sounds like a good bet, but I didn’t immediately get the two extra letters from wordplay, so a half-hearted pass (a woo maybe) on the 1 across test.

This was kind of the theme of my solve.  I worked through the clues and got about half of them from definition and partial wordplay.  I had far more potential grid entries than I did extra letters.  There was a generous helping of anagrams, which definitely placed the extra letters, but many of the non-anagram clues had question marks on my paper.

I had noted that there were only two 11-letter entries and four 7-letter entries, and I was doing pretty well in getting them (and ANTWERP sounded like it could be a thematic place name – maybe this is a war-themed crossword).  ODDS AND ENDS was the first of the 11-letter answers I got, but it had to fit across the bottom as there the letters did not match grid lengths for down entries.  So I started the grid with ODDS AND ENDS at the bottom and the crossing of BLEWITS and ANTWERP and made my way up.

Once I got started, the grid fill wasn’t too bad, and I noticed that BOBBING and BOXING could go in the row near the middle – sounds like this could be the ambiguity.!

Near the end of the gridfill things were looking very strange – surely the clue starting “Tearless” had to be DRYAD but I couldn’t see the wordplay at all, well beyond DRY.

Eventually I had a complete grid bar where BOXER or BOBBER went. There was nothing for it but to turn to my incomplete set of extra letters.  OK – at the start I could see INSERT TWO ENTR?? – and at the end ROW IN REVERSE.  One row stands out – the second with EDWARD EAGAN reversed – further inspection shows he won medals at both Summer Olympics (1920, Antwerp, boxing) and Winter Olympics (1932, Lake Placid, bobsled). So this is probably the INSERT TWO ENTRY NUMBERS, since BOXING would be entry 20 and BOBBING would be 32.

My working grid for Listener 4473, Hit and Run by IforI never did figure out what was going on with the rest of the message, so I’m not 100% sure this is correct, but it seems to be the best I can come with right now.  The Ifor endgame may still be the better of me, so I feel hesitant on calling this a Victory for George.

Game over, 93% completion

Feel free to tell me that I couldn’t win a medal in the Olympic games of toilet training, and see you next week when Llig describes the group in my head.

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