The Bourne Conundrum

Welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword.

Interesting week in crosswordingland – I read a lot of praise being heaped on last week’s puzzle. After reading the solution and looking at the rest of it, I think the final grid looks neat, but I can’t say it is “the best Listener ever”. Not everything was thematic, and in order to get all the stuff into the grid, there had to be jumbles, which didn’t really match the theme. Perhaps it’s sour grapes because I couldn’t finish it, but I’m not in gush mode.

Anyhoo – Xanthippe time! What have we where – Jigsaw time, with clashes and something to highlight.  Non-words in the final grid (well that happened last week too).  There’s a letter at the start of each clue, with the title spelled out, and then some alphabetical.  Araucaria used to do this in his jigsaws by indicating the first letter of the solution, maybe Xanthippe is throwing us a bone?

So I guess we have to start with an L across or down… from the definition it is something like LIANAS.. SENA can be the army – LIANES? The L isn’t indicated.

Maybe this is a big rebound moment – having failed miserably last week, did I crack the code on the very first clue?  A few more clues later and that seems to be the case!

Armed with this knowledge I got a long way through the clues on the first try – including SNOWBOARDER and AMBIGUITIES. Knowing the 14-down entry (as yet unsolved) had to start with P, the joining of POCKETS, KNAIDEL and SNOWBOARDER was very tempting, and led to the top right hand corner being the first one slotted in.  My first three clashes were on a diagonal right next to each other – that’s neat, though the clash of EURO with EMBOUND threw that for a loop!

Eventually I had enough of the grid to see that the clashes were along two diagonals, and the upper one looked like it could read JAMES BOND or JASON BOURNE depending on the clashes.  Ahh so we have to fix that up somehow and that explains the clashes.  So we need to find FLEMING or LUDLUM in the other diagonal. It appears both can be made…

Knowing which letters clashed helped out in finishing the grid, and after one very very long solving session, I had a competed grid. It appears that one could get JAMES BOND and I L FLEMING (had to look up his middle name) or JASON BOURNE and R LUDLUM (no middle name looking up required).  So which to choose…

I had spotted CLEAR THESE in the left column, and ROMEO and JULIET in the bottom right… and there it is – CLEAR THESE AMBIGUITIES.  So I have to keep the U and JASON BOURNE  it is!

My working grid for Listener 4488, I-spy Choices by Xanthippe

Considerably easier than last week’s but a lot of fun!  Not only that, but we are back on track with a Victory to George!

Game over – 100% complete.

Feel free to tell me that I should really forget everything just like Jason Bourne, and see you next week when Pointer wants us to go in the ocean.

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