I’m tooleoorlin sick and tired of these begorrah snakes on this meluckycharms island

Welcome back to the next part of the mop-up.  Mop-up being particularly appropriate here, since the day this came out, I was in New Orleans, and I had been given a tip to visit Lulu Distillery – a place that makes their own vodka, gin and rum and has notorious happy hours.  I arrived at the start of happy hour, and unfolded this one.

OK – it was the weekend of the Listener Dinner, which was in Paris this year, and so the title may be referencing that. I have just read the results – I did not do well on the top-scoring puzzles. I got close on Army and Wavy, but didn’t really know the source material. I thought there were some major flaws in Follow The Directions, where there was no indication of the source material whatsoever other than an obscure name in the grid, and His I did not understand even after reading the solution. I was impressed by The Properties of Numbers but could not find the starting point. I thought X XX XXX had a convoluted preamble that would turn anyone off the puzzle. I did at least finish Nemo but I thought it was messy.

My favorites did not crack any of the lists… the ones that struck me as the most fun and best overall for 2017 were…

4441 – It’s Dark Up Here by Colleague (the overlapping themes of decreasing circles and the oozelum bird disappearing up its own arse)

4439 – Where Falls the Axe by Hedge-Sparrow (that got a few votes)

4447 – Influence by The Tall’n – what I really liked about that one was that every entry mattered

4457 – Polo by Apt – unique grid that suited the theme

4462 – Squares by Phi – that got some love in the voting

4471 – What can the matter be by Flying Tortoise.  Don’t often see something really new in a puzzle, and that was certainly new!

My pick for the year overall would have been 4471, with the four individual grids being four different styles of puzzle and the elements appearing in each square.

Meanwhile, back to the bar.

The cocktails were delicious and the puzzle was pretty straightforward – we had SEAS and SNAKES and SAINT PATRICK, and since Chalicea has had a habit of sticking maps in the puzzle and the snakes are around the outside, getting rid of them is going to make a shape of the map of Ireland surrounding the sea. It was also the day before St Patrick’s Day here – in fact the next day’s parade was getting prepared just a few blocks from where I was sitting.

My working grid for Listener 4494, Overseas Outing by Chalicea

I like that the scan represents how crumpled the grid was after sitting at the bar for an hour or two.

Feel free to tell me that I forgot to colour in one corner and should be kicked out of any bar and into the ocean (that would have been possible in New Orleans) and next up the catch-up is complete as Harribobs trades degrees.

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