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Farewell to Zaphod

I read on the Crossword Club site that Brian Rougvie passed away recently. Brian was one of the first readers and commenters on this blog, and although he didn’t post very often, he would send me nearly weekly updates and comments on solving, music I should check out, and bad jokes.

In 2010 there was no Listener on Christmas Day, and Brian suggested that I write up a report of an imaginary crossword, or on a crossword that he supplied under the pseudonym Zaphod.  So I wrote (with considerable input from Brian) what was one of the all-time most popular posts on this site, the blog of the non-existent Headache by Zaphod.

Brian went one better and gave me a Zaphod puzzle, which we put on this blog three weeks later.  We had plans for more, but neither of us were particularly diligent setters. I do hope to extend the Lessener series to maybe a second puzzle.

I had drifted out of touch with Brian, but hearing of his passing brings back many fond memories and a nudge that I need to indulge in more cruciverbal trickery.  Au revoir, Zaphod!


See you tomorrow (hopefully)

Greetings gentle readers.

Time, printers, scanners, and a chance to take a few days vacation are conpsiring against me sitting in a hotel room and typing up Shark.  I’ll be back at home nursing a hangover tomorrow, that sounds like a far better time to blog.

Vote for Top of the Square 2014

The three laws of moronics: a moron must hurt another moron. A moron must allow harm to come to other morons. A moron does not know how many laws there are.

Welcome back to George vs lack of an internet connection.  I was in Sydney last week visiting my sister, and take away my internet and I’m like a hermit crab – every 10 steps I was waving my smartarse phone around looking for a connection.  Can I get a wi-fi?  I did a carefully calculated attack – Starbucks gives 1 hour of free internet if you buy a certain quantity of coffee, so I schlepped the laptop there and belted out my regular contribution to Times for the Times on Thursday, but that left the regularish nattering of Listener-related irreverence.  Which had to wait.

Not that there is all that much worth waiting for – Radix’s final puzzle.  A man who has been critical of my making light of crosswords, but did send me a nice postcard once when I submitted a correct solution.  Part of the Mango crew who get much pleasure from taunting me electronically.  And a setter with whom I could never really come to grips with his puzzles.

That track record continued here, I’m afraid!  There was a lot going on here, and even those normal clues that were to be entered with unchecked letters missing were bloody difficult. I did pretty well on the right hand side, where it looked like we were heading for SEATTLE and OSIRIS with the composite clues.

Given that we were told mathematical manipulations might be needed I tried adding together some words of the composite clues… well it did for EFFETELY + HINDUISE = MOTIONED.  We were told 1, 27, 53 etc… so maybe multiplication?  That worked for FRUITION X GREEN BAN = PLASTRON but I couldn’t figure out how HANJAR and SHERRY were going to give OSIRIS.

Possible letters for the unchecked options near the end suggested ASIMOV, so I figured it must have something to do with the Laws of Robotics, but my extra/missing/duplicated letters didn’t seem to be close to and of the Asimov novels or stories I had read.

So in the end an utter dismal failure.  I’ve now seen the solution, and I wonder if “Runaround” is too obscure to be fair?  There wasn’t much here to help the solver out along the way.  Probably big sour grapes from another failure – 2014 is not my year.  A final Victory to Radix and the Listener Crossword.

2014 tally:  36-3-9

Feel free to tell me that since I have no mouth I shouldn’t scream, and see you next week when Artix may P O One

Delay of blog…

Apologies in advance to regular readers, and in particular to eXternal, who sent me an email during the week, but things are not all well in GvL land.  Internet and cable have been out at my apartment, since Wednesday, rendering my scanner and printer to be large plastic chunks with blinking lights.  Three calls to the cable company later, they are finally going to send someone out to look at it, but it won’t be until the end of the weekend at the earliest.

I am existing off my smartarsephone now, making me even more like one of those annoying people who are constantly poking and swiping at their little devices.

See you all soon!

Oh, before I go… I thought I had a really nice clue in the Azed comp for CHARET, but I was undone by opting for NALLA instead of NABLA.  I chose the same split as one of the VHC clues.  Oh well…

George vs the “All-England” RNIB 3D Crosswords Cup

Greetings random mid-week visitors.  Well I’ve been reading about how much fun these sloggers and betters get-togethers have been, and an email from Eric Westbrook started gears turning in my tiny mush-addled head.  This 3D crosswords cup is at a perfect time for me, a bit of a lull in the performing schedule, during a few week break before my regular job starts back up.  I also have friends in Leeds and London that I have been promising a visit to in years (my last trip to the UK was in 2004).

So I’m booked and ready – I’m coming to the big schmozzle on August 6th.  I hope you can wear shorts.

If you want to join me, then there’s plenty more details at the Calendar Puzzles page, including a handy-dandy option to pay via paypal.

Suggestions as to what to do, where to drink, and any fun open mic nights welcome.


The end of George v Listener.

Welcome back to George versus the listener.  All good things must come to an end, and having only improved marginally in the last three years, and facing the wrath and derision of those on the message board, it is time to pack it in and call it quits.

April fool – actually I’m stuck in LA another day and won’t be back until very late tomorrow night, so I’ll have a post on Ringtone, which I rather liked, on Saturday.

Welcome to 2011 – new look, new newness, it’s all new!

So would you believe that a 10-minute write up of a crossword puzzle that doesn’t exist, based on a challenge in a thread on the Crossword Center brought this blog twice as much traffic as it has ever seen on a single day?

Tempting though it is to write more reviews of non-existent puzzles, it seems that there are some crossword fans hurting for entertainment out there, so I set on a little relaunch.  I’ve put in more widgets, some links (if I’ve forgotten you, please let me know), added my picture of the empty grid from Elap as an icon and in 2011, George vs the Listener will be your destination for crossword entertainment.  I’ll be posting some puzzles, separating my entries for writing awful clues for the Azed competitions (and other clue-writing competitions) and bringing other bitties and pieces to the table, as well as sticking to the core mission of bettering my record on the Listener crossword.

So welcome to 2011, and I hope you enjoy the ride.