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The man in lack

Let’s play catch-up, shall we?

I have been getting pretty bad at this, and I’m not quite sure why…  middle-age slump, general wear and tear from having done this for a while.  Eh…

Anyhoo, catch-up part one, and it appears I must apologise profusely to The Ace of Hearts.  I see that last year’s puzzle also ended up a week late and at least a penny short. This will probably be so too, as I must say I gave up.

What makes one give up?

OK for a start it is a spherical grid, but a wonky spherical grid. 39 clues?  Well its divisible by 3, so the inner ring looks neat, but the next two are kind of wonky. I’m going to have a hard time reading those. No jumbles, but some inwards, some outwards, OK.  Song lyric, presumably of 39 letters.

I skipped the perimeter at the beginning and went to the radial clues.  I was going OK on the radial clues, and had MAN?NBLAC as the letters latent.  Well Johnny Cash was the MAIN IN BLACK, and with a circular grid, it had to be RING OF FIRE, right?  A peek back at the perimeter clues, and I saw IGNITE, SHOOT, ENLIVEN and SACK.  Yep, it’s Ring of Fire all right.  FOLSOM PRISON BLUES and A BOY NAMED SUE are going to give the rest of the latent letters.

I quite liked Johhny Cash, by the way.  In the recordings he made near the end of his life there was a terrific one of Nick Cave’s “The Mercy Seat”.

Anyway, from EARMARK and MASTFED there’s a good place to enter the FIERY RING part of the lyric…

So here I was… I knew everything that is needed thematically, and all that is left is to do is… solve three perimeter clues, the 22 remaining radial clues, and decide how they get slotted in to the not symmetric grid.  That’s way too much sursolving.  I put it away.

My working grid for Listener 4498, Name That Tune by the Ace of Hearts

So I’m sorry, The Ace Of Hearts… it may be that I knew the theme too well, but when you can have all the thematic material in place so quickly (well, I guess I was missing the three perimeter clues), there’s no fun in the rest.  You can claim a Victory for the Listener Crossword!

Game over:  23% completion.

Check in soon, when Elfman tells me to not speak in the theatre.

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