To post really late or not to post really late, that is the question

This is not complete but I’m posting it so that posts don’t get out of order which would mess up OCD people.

My working grid for Listener 4461, DIlemma by Aedites

Come back later, and there might be something here.


Was anyone else tempted to write “THE MONEY” at the bottom?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.

I appear to have done a silly – I scanned my grid and then recycled the paper it was on, so I have to work from memory here, and my memory isn’t what it used to be.

I think the preamble said that two letters had to be taken from each clue and moved to a crossword to be published in August.  Misprints resolved a location, two characters, a URL we are not permitted to visit (I went there, it had an animated GIF of Shane Shabankareh wagging his finger) and seventeen anagrams of TS ELIOT.  Something had to be highlighted, and parts of the grid had to be strategically set on fire, the chemical formula of the incinerant to be written below the grid, Playfair-encoded.

Nothing to do but solve, right?

There is a 1 across, but I see I have a question mark against it, so I can’t tell if  I have passed the 1 across test right away, which means maybe woohoo or no woohoo.

The part I remember – maybe it’s from once sitting next to him and drinking a lot, but I find I am on the same wavelength as Aedites when it comes to clues, so the grid started to fill up.  I wasn’t doing so well on the clues that I knew had to be thematically treated until the possibility of DELAWARE appeared on the second row, when it dawned these were state nicknames!  The rest of the grid was a pretty quick fill, with SHOW ME for MISSOURI appearing in the bottom left.

my woking grid for Listener 4383, Display by Aedites

However now I’m looking at it, I can’t remember if I modified the top left to be THIRST and TERAI.  There’s a question mark in my working grid, which I hope I fixed.  I got a note from Aedites during the week, but no mention was made of completely ridiculous words at the top of the grid.  I think (hope) I fixed it, but I think this could be a Victory to Aedites, the Listener crossword, and poor final-grid checking.

So much for that year!

2016 tally:  4-1-0

Feel free to tell me HAHAHAHHAHAHHAH serves you right, and see you next week when Harpy gives us a puzzle about my favorite T-shirt size.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – when is a pi like a theta?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, your source for occasionally timely, always pithy reflections on the internet’s favorite barred grid puzzle.  I’m writing this up the day before the solution is published so there is a slight chance it will appear at the correct time.

OKeydoke – what have we here? Aedites! I generally have pretty good luck with Aedites, which is good, since I started this one on a plane.  Not just a plane… one of those plane rides from hell where you are squished in next to a large, seriously overperfumed, chatty lady who appears to be amazed by everything to do with planes, even though she assured me she flies often.  Just not in a plane like this one (maybe she goes cargo most of the time?). This meant that every entry I put in the grid was immediately followed by “how does that work?”, shortly followed by “you must be so smart”, or “I could never do those”.  It was a three-hour flight from Atlanta to Denver, and now I know why you’re not allowed to bring knives on planes.

Preamble brevity!  Across clues are normal, down clues have a misprint, and there’s something to highlight!

OKeydoke – to solving! There is a 1 across, and I could not solve it on the first readthrough, which made me kick myself.  Must have been the flight, as I didn’t get anything until CREE(l) at 18 across, and even then I couldn’t get any of the crossing entries.  Damn you perfume and personal space invasion!  Fortunately a little bit further into the across clues I managed to get a few in a row and make a start on the bottom half of the grid.  By starting near the bottom it became clear that the last word of the message was CIRCLE.  OK, something to do with a CIRCLE.  Working my way back up it looked like INSIDE… and DYAMETER? I was convinced the misprint was for political PARTY, but I guess with the origin of the word it has to be PARTI.  Unless it really was DYAMETER…

Oh!  It was 3/14 wasn’t it?  Isn’t it nice when your favorite number can be commemorated in a day?  3/14 for pi, October 23 or 10/23 for Avogadro’s number (celebrated as a degree of magnitude rather than as value), I wonder if that’s why there isn’t as much love for e?  2.718281.  I guess you could do it on February 7th… make it a week before Valentines Day.

So the message has to be something to do with pi.  Am I meant to highlight a pi symbol in the grid?  It’s lowercase, so maybe it should have some curly bits?  How would that fit with DIAMETER IS INSIDE A CIRCLE?  I’d already spotted RADIUS starting at SPRAD… so that’s something to do with it… there’s a ONE at the end of PALLONE and another ONE at the end of SOMEONE.  Aaaah… its going to be in a sort of circle… where does it start?  AREA THREE POINT ONE FOUR ONE FIVE gives the diameter of a circle with RADIUS ONE.  That’s the right number of letters… though the symbol you get when you highlight them all looks like a theta.

My working grid for Listener Crossword 4337, Relationship by Aedites

Well that was a bit of fun and could be solved on a plane (not wanting to be plane showy-offy smarty pants but I also did most of Piccadilly’s EV puzzle “Adventurous group”, which I also enjoyed, before we landed), so woohoo, thanks Aedites, and I think we can call this one a Victory to George.

Clues of note:

I liked that the corrections to misprints maintained surface sense.  In most cases, it was clear which word was going to hold the misprint, but some of the misprints themselves foxed me.

2 down:  Political parts put cells in Foreign Office (6).

FASCIO:  ASCI in FO with a misprint of I to give PARTI – a group of people.  Had the answer early but was convinced of the wrong misprint.

28 down:  Hair coat discarded, moved by lidos (7).

ABA,SHED with a misprint of A in LIDOS to give AIDOS, shame.

2015 tally:  9-0-1.  Maybe I should go back to submitting!

Feel free to tell me that you wouldn’t want to be stuck next to me on a plane either, and see you next week when Glow-worm wants to play to 15 (is that even legal?).

I’d prefer coffee or a beer

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, where on a weekly basis you can hear an average solver rant and rave and make bad jokes about everybody’s favorite pastime.  Speaking of ranting, last night I actually complained about a clue in email.  The clue used one persons fist name to clue a second person’s last name.  The editor sent me a nice email basically saying… well nothing, that I should cut setters some slack.  It makes me want to set up a fake twitter account for Ximines and call out unsound clues.  Let me know if this is a good idea or a bad idea – I suggested to someone I start a fake twitter account for Schadenfreude, which got a giggle.

Second off-topic rant, a letter arrived during the week from Homer (hi Homer!) which had a pre-folded squeezebox from Going Out In Style as a souvenir.  Homer apparently created a bunch of them to rub in the face of those who completely missed the KEYBOARD and didn’t know how to fold show how the endgame was meant to play out for solvers who were marked as incorrect.

OKeydoke – where are we.  Aedites!  We’ve had a few Aedites over the years and I’ve met the chap, so I’m looking forward to this one.  Funny coincidence, Aedites’ last puzzle was about Charles I, and I just saw Eddie Izzard in Raleigh do a long routine about Charles I.  What have we here – across misprints, a theme, and 21 whopping clashes!  Clashmania.

Well let’s get going.  There is a 1 across, and it looks like D,ULSTER and we’re away with a theme that begins with C.  That was about it for the top left for a while, but ECHO,ED gets us started on the top right hand side, which filled up very quickly and didn’t seem to have any clashes.  I guess the clashes come in clumps and there isn’t a clump in the top right.  As I moved down to the bottom right, that definitely wasn’t the case – there seemed to be so many clashes that even though 28 was clearly BATATAS, it didn’t work with any of the crossing entries except EMBERS and ASSETS.  Hmm… at that point the across answers were looking like CAMELLIA… a trip to Chambers suggests that it is related to TEA, and all the clashes found are the letters T, E and A.

Could it be block capitals for T, E and A in the diagonal of the grid?  That would explain why there were no clashes in the top right, nor had any been found in the bottom left, an.  d that 3 down which was currently unsolved could have up to five misprints.  Technically, this meant I didn’t have to solve 3 down or 29 down, since the entries were going to be filled with T’s or A’s, but I eventually did – SETTEE and RATATAT.  The last thing to be found would be the thematic character, which I guess was hiding in the unclashy part of the grid, and there was LIPTON and then THOMAS peeeking out.

My working grid for Listener 4293, Shrub by Aedites

Woohoo!  I will admit  I never finished the last part of the message from the across but I think I’ve got this one sorted out – and the improbably all-correct streak stays alive for another week.

2014 tally:  19-0-0

Feel free to tell me that I missed it because of the end of that message, and see you next week when we find out how many setters a crossword can be by.

Was this where the plot of “The Abominable Dr Phibes” came from?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword – delayed a day by trips to doctor and arm rehab.  One arm, two dictionaries, and a head full of half-assed notions.  Let’s apply those to the latest offering from Aedites – a rare solver that I have met in person.  It has been less than a year since we last met Aedites, in Falsehoods with the tale of Froude and Kingsley.  Before that was a trip through the Glasgow subway in Travel Guide,  a failed piece of bell-ringing in Question, a ring of numbers in Euclid’s Algorithm and rings of letters in Babes.  I’ve had pretty decent luck with Aedites, so I (and my broken bones) were looking forward to a potential easyish solve.

What have we here – misprints leading to a date, surnames around the outside and a victim somewhere in the grid.  Okeydoke…

There is no 1 across, there is an 8 across and I can’t figure it out on the first reading, so that’s a fail on the 8 across test.  I didn’t get any until the double definition at 11 of RHEA.

Fortunately RHEA was a good get, because it crossed three words I saw straight off – MA,RACA, EPEE, LEA,GUE (oh GUE – where would barred crosswords be without you), so the grid stated to fill up steadily.  All real words in the grid helped speed this along considerably, and with the bottom half half-full it appears we were heading towards 1649.  A tripipedia to Wikipedia reveals 1649 as the year of the execution of King Charles I.  From there we are in the home straight – there’s a list of the signers of the death warrant.  I didn’t know this part of history but it did not end well for the signers of the death warrant, most of whom ended up being beheaded themselves.

There’s also King Charles I in a C in the grid finishing things off. This was all finished on Sunday morning.

My working grid for Listener 4264, Commission by Aedites

Thanks Aedites for introducing me to a little bit of gruesome history and I think we can call this one a Victory to George.

2013 tally:  29-7-6.

Feel free to tell me I should not wait until Thursday night after physical therapy to write these, and see you next week when Kruger enables us.

On bashing bishops

Welcome back to George vs the Listener, first post for 2013, so hi to all who made it this far, but we’re still talking about the tail end of 2012 in Listener crosswords with three to go.  Let’s see what Aedites has in store for us.  You may remember Aedites from early last year with Travel Guides giving us a trip around the Glasgow subway (a definite win), before that was some bell changing that I completely muffed with Question, more numbers than you could poke a number at with Euclid’s Algorithm and an almost complete circular grid with Babes.  So George vs Aedites is dead level.  On a more important note though, I sat with Aedites at the All-England 3D Crossword Competition (Eric, what was that thing called again?) in August of 2011.  He could be lucky, I think photos of us solving a crossword together may have disappeared with my last hard drive crash.  So hi Aedites!

What do we have here – normal clues, a quote running around the middle, some thematic answers that are not defined, and no clue for 29 down?  Oh, there is a clue for 29 down, it just doesn’t seem to have printed.  Hey my printer and Windows 8, why do you dislike me so?  Anyway, this is looking good, presumably it’s all real words except for those which are part of the thematic material which appears to be names.

I was in New York the week this came out, and got started on it during the plane trip home, so I was without Chambers, but with Bradfords and two uninterrupted hours.

There is no 1 across, but there is a 9 across and it’s an insertion to get PA(D)RE and we are away, woohoo!  I was making pretty decent progress on the clues, and only put a few question marks in to look up once I was by the dictionary.  I made an early error in putting in MOCHI at 4 down, it was definitely HI(D) at the end but I couldn’t figure out the book part, and MOCHI was the best sounding answer.

By the end of my first flight, most of the grid was in place and I could see TRUTH and HISTORY as possible words around the outside – 13 was most likely GREEN, and 31 ?INGSLEY which is probably KINGSLEY.  Running up the left hand side could be PACK OF LIES if it was Kingsley.

Hmmm… could I finish a Listener without Chambers at all?  When we were on the ground I had the intelligent phone out to get on Google and look up KINGSLEY, PACK OF LIES, HISTORY, TRUTH and GREEN.  Hmmmm…

This does appear to be an un-googleable theme.  The quote “History is a pack of lies” is attributed to Santayana and Voltaire, neither of which seem to help here.

KINGSLEY does appear to lead somewhere, to FROUDE’S HISTORY OF ENGLAND which seems to be connected to STUBBS (meaning 4 down is SUSHI), but I still can’t find those quotes.

Finally home – and when I’m home, I have access to the online Oxford Dictionary of Quotations through a library login.  ODQ to the rescue!  In a letter from Bishop STUBBS to GREEN

Froude informs the Scottish youth
That parsons do not care for truth.
The Reverend Canon Kingsley cries
History is a pack of lies.
What cause for judgements so malign?
A brief reflection solves the mystery—
Froude believes Kingsley a divine,
And Kingsley goes to Froude for history.

And so in go the quotes

My working grid for Listener 4220, Falsehoods by Aedites

What a fascinating quote, it made me want to go and read Froude’s History of England – it appears to be in the public domain (or at least in Google Books), maybe someday.

Interesting beast this one, about 90 minutes to get all but the thematic material and then a long hunt and peck process (which would have been shorter if I’d gone straight to ODQ). Thanks Aedites and I’m going to call this one a Victory to George

2012 tally:  39-3-7

Feel free to give me printing tips, and see you next week when Lavatch gives us a seasoning.


To get doon toon you’ve got t’go undergroond

Hi there and welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – easily in the top 35 crossword discussion sites there are.  Spotty start to 2011, certainly inauspicious, but who knows, maybe I can get it together to be all-correctish from here.

This week we have Travel Guide by Aedites.  I had a rare free weekend the day that this came out, and so I got started on it in a rather pleasant circumstances – I was on a plane headed to Houston to spend the weekend with my brother and his family.  There’s three boys that need to be spoiled rotten by their uncle.  So I was on a plane with my gifts of subversive books and violent video games and ready to crack this one open with Bradfords and my WordWeb version of Chambers.

We’ve run into Aedites a few times in both letter and number form.  It was the circular grid Babes that actually got this blog a little attention in the days of trying for 50% completion.  The round grid returned full of numbers for Euclid’s Algorithm which might be the biggest numberical ever! I was feeling pretty confident with Aedites until I hit Question where one silly wrong answer unravelled my whole grid and I didn’t understand bell-ringing. And I noticed the poor spam filtration on Blogspot which eventually prompted the move to WordPress.  That one earned me an email from Aedites himself, showing me how bell-ringing works – thanks Aedites!

OK here we go… extra words, and misprints.  Useful hints and something to do with places.  That’s a rather confidence-inspiring preamble, and even better – all real words in the grid!

There is a 1 across, and it looks like some form of anagram but I’m not sure of what originally.  First one in was D,REAM at 11, and we have a misprint of D.

The clueing was fun, but very much on my wavelength – I’ve noticed that a lot when I do the Independent or Guardian dailies… I know that if I hit a Orlando/Paul/Shed/Dac/Brendan/Chifonie puzzle I’m going to get the wordplay, but when I see Anax(sorry Dean)/Gordius/Quixote/Arachne I know I’m going to be in “duh” land.

The upshot was that two hours and a lot of smiles later, I got off the plane with a full (though I wanted to check KNAVE, not sure if KN was ok for Knots or EVAN might have been a girl’s name as well) grid, a good suspicion of what the majority of the extra words were and knew we were looking for something of the Glasgow Underground Circle.  I didn’t even know there was a subway in Glasgow!


First grid for Listener 4124: Travel Guide by Aedies

A full grid but no theme yet

Google to the rescue – this is going to work – there are 15 stations on the Glasgow undeground, and they can be pieced together from the extra words.

Map of the Glasgow Subway from the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport

Here’s the subway map from Strathclyde Partnership for Transport

My working notes for the thematic material

In which we learn about the Glasgow underground

And there’s THE RIVER CLYDE running a path right through the middle.  Let’s tidy it all up and put it in the proper form.

My final grid for Listener 4124, Travel Guide by Aedites

Straight line provided by the side of an envelope

All done in two sessions, so I guess that’s on the easy side of Listeners, but that was one of the most fun Listener’s I’ve done in ages!  It fit together so well, there’s a bunch of thematic material and I learned something new.  Thanks Aedites, you kept me from turning on my fellow passengers (I had a book to read on the way home).

So Victory to George!  Starting to right the ship.

2011 tally:  George 5, Listener 2.  Current streak:  George 2.

Feel free to leave comments below and we’ll see you back next week for some elementary number theory with Oyler.  Look in sometime during the week to see if we have the next instalment of George vs the Times Clueing Challenge – I believe it’s also time to fail in an Azed comp this week too!