“” = maybe half (I had a joke in bra – ket notation but WordPress can’t handle it)

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword and it is a Christmas miracle!  I have a new laptop (say hi to the world, laptop), it works with my scanner and hopefully with my printer soon, and it is Friday and I am about to post this one about on time!  Is this a change for the better? Who knows, though I hope so – it would be nice to be back to a regular solving and writing routine.

And so to Agricola – a new setter according to the Listener website, so hi Agricola if you made it to this dark place of the weeb. And what have we here – a fucking Playfair square!

So here’s something new – I had to read some research thesis on Humanities subjects recently and one was on the legacy of Playfair on modern geology! It was hard to read, though it was a pretty well-written paper, about Playfair taking up some of the more obscure parts of Hutton’s work and promoting that geological formations are random and haphazard rather than specifically designed.  So it turns out he was kind of a decent bloke, even if the worst entry device in crosswords ever was named after him.

Oh so ready was I to hate this crossword – not just one but two Playfair squares. Wheee. Two names to be clued and the clues to the names show up as extra letters in wordplay. Joy.

Perseverance, George! Due to 1 across being thematic, we have to start with 11 across and at least there was a pass on the 11 across test, with OU, IT, S, OAR and an I to start with.

OK – the clues weren’t too bad, and since a number of the answers were double clues where the entries differ by only one letter, it wasn’t too long before I had a nearly full grid.  I wasn’t always seeing the extra letters, but the first one really looked like I RODE UNSTEADILY in SEWING MACHINE and the other one looked like it ended in BUDDHIST MOUNTAIN. something ZEN BURG?

That was it for the first session.  I was wondering if I was in for a long fight against this one.

Another day, fresh mind (or less messed up current mind and there was a flash of inspiration.  Sewing machine has to be VIKING or SINGER, surely.  That wordplay is very close to giving SCHRODINGER, though that’s not the right number of letters.  But there has to be a thematic animal, and SCHRODINGER had one of the most thematic of all.  I think more people know of SCHRODINGER for the cat than for the equation stating the the energy of a wave is an eigenvalue of the one-electron Hamiltonian.

So if it’s SCHRODINGER, then the other one has to be HEISENBURG.  That at least has the right number of letters.

Oh… yeah, I have a PhD in quantum chemistry.  Sometimes it comes in useful.

I might have been able to guess the keywords, but I fed HEISENBERG and the letters that I had at 10 down into Quinapaulus’ handy dandy Playfair solver, and hey presto – PARTICLE!  That means that the other one has to be WAVE.  Shortest Playfair keyword ever!  New goal – write a crossword where the Payfair key word is “A”.  A peek at wikithingy shows that Erwin’s name has also been written as SCHROEDINGER, which using wave gives OHGSRWCKMHGY which fits across the top row!  Woohoo.

Encoding HEISENBERG using PARTICLE gives the C in 23 across and shows the CAT, which means the side gets QHTUCQDBAH

My working grid for Listener 4480, The Code Duello by Agricola

And automatic captioning is gone again on the new laptop it seems.

One thing is still bugging me – I went through and finished the rest of the encoding, and my encoding of HEISENBERG by WAVE gives GBNOEMWEYM which doesn’t quite match my original grid. I had NB which should unencode to SH.  It gets obliterated in the solution, so Victory to George but I don’t think I can give myself 100%.

OK Agricola – fine debut.  More quantum physics, less Playfair next time around. Now I wonder if anyone reads this and the next Playfair code UNIFORMITARIANISM. Yes, I know it doesn’t work.

Game over: 99% completion.

Feel free to tell me that my wavelength is definitely below 10-31 m, and see you next week when Twin finds me guilty of something.