Taddeo Gaddit sounds a good name for a redneck uncle in a US sitcom

Welcome back to a very very late edition of George vs the Listener Crossword. I started this on Friday with all good intentions of having it finished on time, but a couple of crises and a flat tire later, I find myself writing it in a waiting room of a car center. I could be here for a while.

Although it won’t take long – clearly because the next week’s puzzle involves numbers and playfairs and all sorts of horrors, the editors wanted to go easy on us, so here comes this fun, straightforward and educational puzzle from Calmac.

I completed this one over lunch – there were some unclued entries and misprints in some definitions – so mostly normal clues, and real words, places and names in the grid, woohoo!

On the other hand, no 1 across, since it was unclued, and we have to go to 9 across for LIE,U and a big pass on the 9 across test.

It was a pretty quick grid fill – the possibility for LONGFELLOW in the bottom of the grid appeared early, and misprints TADDEO were enough to get the name TADDEO GADDIT, from there it was a quick trip on the phone to learn about the PONTE VECCHIO, ARNO and FIRENZE.  I don’t think there were that many leftover clues once all the thematic material was in place and I was done in a little over a half hour.

My working grid for Listener 4450, Bank Transfer by Calmac

Fun little puzzle and quite a breather.  Game over, and I believe that is 100% completion.  Feel free to tell me anything, and see you next week when I will tell you that I couldn’t even bring myself to attempt Zag’s numerical atrocity.

Every schoolboy knows how to wikioogle it, at least

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, your weekly stop for short-cut solving, obvious jokes, and general wittering about the barred-grid beastie.

Calmac time!  I have a habit of not seeing the themes in Calmac puzzles until near the end, so let’s see how it goes here – we have 21 misprints, leading to a question and some highlighting.  Looks like we have mostly normal clues and all real words in the grid, and yet again we get a Jumbo Listener!  14×14 with a ton of clues!

There is a 1 across – and it looks like we have a pass on the 1 across test for the first time in a while, with RE(ASSES)S going in and there’s no misprint here!

Unfortunately I couldn’t make much headway into that corner, beyond AORTA (misprint E) and STRAUSS not a lot went in.

On the other hand – the top right hand side yielded quickly with the extra letters beginning with a C from F,RANCE

Half an hour or so later, things are looking good, most of the right hand side of the grid is full… and something strikes me – the message looks like CE?TR?L which looks like it’s going to be CENTRAL, and CLUES down the bottom.

Could it be CENTRAL LETTERS OF CLUES?  It’s 21 letters long…

There’s a lot of clues, and many of them seem kind of long, so there could be something hiding in there.  I started working backwards and forwards on the clues to see if there was a message… EVERY SCHOOLBOY (this is looking good) KNOWS WHO IM…

OK… that was the end of the first page of my printout (the Listener printed from Firefox at 70% size on US letter paper puts some odd page breaks in), and I’ll admit – I was getting a headache looking for these central letters, so I did what every good schoolboy does, and started typing the phrase into google… and there it is – Thomas Macauley “Every schoolboy knows who imprisoned Montezuma and who strangled Atahualpa”.

Unless you went to school in Australia in the 70s I guess.

So now I have to google who did the deeds…

Is this what is known as a wiki wormhole?

Anyhoo – there’s most of ATAHUALPA in the grid up in the top right, and around him is FRANCISCO PIZARRO who I now knew captured him in the battle of Cajamarca.  Most of MONTEZUMA is in the bottom right (and all of it will be if WACK is ZACK which makes sense), and is surrounded by the Conquistaor HERNAN CORTES.


So what is left?

Almost the entirety of the bloody left hand side! Ack!

Yes, I complained about sursolving last week, and this week I did take a massive shortcut, but here we are again, in the world where all the thematic stuff is worked out (except a few letters of the instruction) and there’s still a bunch of gridfill left.

Finally, with the last letter of PAMPA in, a sigh of relief!  Victory to George, but it would be typical me if I messed something up in the sursolving.  I didn’t scan my grid just yet, I’ll add it tonight.

I should say, it was rather fun at the start!

2015 tally:  30-2-5

Feel free to tell me I’m a big lazy cheat who uses the internet to take the fun out of massive amounts of clue solving, and see you next week when Llig’s ego goes on a voyage.

Obvious theme ignorance 101

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, coming to you today from beautiful Toronto, Ontario, Canada so this will be a brief post and I won’t have a scan.  I can add it when I return to Americaland tomorrow.

OK, what have we here – Calmac!  I had a pretty awesome failure last time out with Calmac, so let’s see where I can go wrong this time.  This Listener came out while I was on the road, heading to Charlotte for the ROC Race (were I also spectacularly failed).  So I was mostly doing this on a friends sofa while he was complaining about a sore tooth.

What have we here – misprints in definition, and there’s a LOT of clues here  Big grid with small entries mostly (ooo eerr).  These give an instruction… hmm, so it looks like we’re in real word territory which is a good thing when I don’t have Bradfords and the like with me.

There is a 1 across and although it looks pretty obvious now, I could not see it at the time, so that was a fail on the 1 across test (oh dear).  Much better luck on 5 across, an anagram of TASER and we’re away (though I incorrectly put in that it delivered JOLTS).

Since I had an entry in the middle, I started working from there and something became clear pretty quickly – SARAJEVO BOSNIA was hiding in the middle column.  Erudite, worldly people at this point probably cottoned on to the theme, I jotted it in and wondered what on earth Sarajevo was significant for.  Wasn’t there a Winter Olympics there once?

Moving over to the left side of the grid, there’s another long unclued entry at 1 down, and with FOR,DS now figured out it looks like it’s going to be FRANZ FERDINAND.  Isn’t that a techno group?

Oh… he was murdered around 100 years ago, right?  Did it happen in Sarajevo?  Shouldn’t I have known this?

Yes, he was, and the murderer appears to be lurking in the other side of the grid, GAVRILO PRINCIP – which was needed to get some pesky answers out in the Florida corner.  OK, so now we have a grid and a message.  And Sarajevo’s probably part of it.



What’s an EJELT?

Can tasers do something than JOLTS?  VOLTS (and is taser in Chambers?).  Aaaah so 12 isn’t to RAIL it’s to RAIN.  And now it’s an EVENT that occurred near a river.  In Sarajevo.

So the Wikipedia article on the assassination of Franz Ferdinand has no details of the name of the river.  There’s an APPLE BRIDGE (nowhere to be found).   Earlier on I’d noticed JACK quite close to 22 across (it was the title of the puzzle after all, may as well pay attention to that part of the grid).  So a bit more online atlassing and there it is – the MILJACKA… and the abbreviation R to make the shape of a cross.

22 is VERMIL which is red, so I highlighted my cross in red, I thought there might have been something to do with the formation of the red cross, but that was another time altogether.

So woohoo! I think I got this all sorted out and in, and I learned some stuff I probably should have known anyway, so thanks Calmac!

Feel free to laugh at my ignorance and see you next week when Jago tells us that it’s time to go home, since it’s over here.



Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – we’re into the home stretch, and for those of you who still have your unblemished records intact, good luck to you!  For the rest of us… let’s keep on plugging along!  This week we’re up against Calmac, who we’ve run up against once before in Mind the Gap, which was a rather fun puzzle with a hole in the middle.

Calmac is going for the brevity in preamble award… most clues have a misprint and there’s some “apparent clashes”.  Hmm… clashes that aren’t really clashes?  Clayton’s clashes?

Off to the bar I go… not a great start on this one, there is a 1 across, but no luck on the 1 across test at the start.  Nor the 7 across test.  10 looks like LULL and we’re away – doesn’t look like there is a misprint here.

My first laugh was a peek at 1 down where DITTY was obviously going to become DIRTY with SLATTERN the answer.  TUDOR and PLEA(SURE) later and it looks like 1 across is STOPGAPS and the mesage begind with an F.

I’ve given several messages that start with F, but I doubt this is one of them.

The first clashes appear when T,ROUBLES doesn’t appear to play nice with GAUC(y),HOS(t) or the hidden ERGO.  I wonder if they’ll all be in a bunch?  Probably not, I didn’t have any other clashes in the left hand side at all, and the grid is quickly filling up.  Yay for real words!

It looks like most clues means almost all clues, of the ones I’ve solved, only TROUBLES, maybe LULL and REMEDIES have no misprints.  TROUBLES and REMEDIES have clashes, LULL does not… oh… LULL does have a misprint – it’s calm interVal.  And we start off with FIVE  CLUES (so maybe 11 which I haven’t solved yet has no misprint).  FIVE CLUES ARE TO BE REGARDED AS EXEMPLARY.

Ahhh… that only leaves five clues without a misprint and some of them I haven’t solved!

Getting this message helped out a lot – I had pegged 33 across as SP,A,RE but it’s S,PART reversed giving me the T misprint.  So the clues with no misprint (and I guess thus exemplary) are 11ac (not solved),  16ac(TROUBLES), 32 across(not solved), 37 across (SPONSORS) and 19 down (REMEDIES).

Anyone else want to put a misprint of T in 37 across?  You should be ashamed of yourselves!

32 took a bit of parsing, but a hunt through the dictionary gave DA(CO,IT)Y.  Same thing with 11 – I think it’s APHORISM for an &Lit clue.  I may end up doing myself in here.  This is my grid before resolving clashes.

working grid for Listener 4160 - stress gauges by Calmac

clashes circled…

OK… exemplary.  Worth of imitation or notice, serving as a model, a specimen, an illustration or a warning.

I wonder if it’s just a warning that if you weren’t reading the clues, you would have bunged in ANAPAEST, TROCHEES, DACTYLS, SPINDLES and IAMBUSES?  So use the exemplary clues even though I’m now going to get a grid with a bunch of non-words?

My final grid for Listener 4160 - Stress Gauges by Calmac

I hope that I’ve interpreted this the way that Calmac intended.  It was a pretty quick fill and finding of the message – my bar session got me as far as the message, and it was a second sitting to clear things up, but I have this nagging feeling I may have missed something deeper.  Check back later and see if I’m justified in that.

I laughed at a lot of the misprints – PRINK to PRICK, POST to POET, CHARLES to CHARGES, MATE to DATE (there’s a warning right there), and WEAVES to LEAVES.  This was a good bit of fun while it lasted.

But for now I’m going to call it a guarded Victory to George.

2011 tally:  George 35, Listener 8.  Current streak:  George 9.

Feel free to leave comments below (particularly if it turns out I’ve boshed this up – I won’t be around once the solution goes online), and see you next week to find out if we have Lavatch or not have Lavatch.


Well that was a pretty spectacular plunge, wasn’t it?  In my paltry defense, what I know of meter could be written on the back of a postage stamp and mailed to Shakespeare.  Probably should have looked those bungable words up, eh?

Victory to Calmac…

Amended tally:  Listener 9, George 34.  Current streak:  Listener 1.


Welcome back to George versus the Listener.  If you read early last week, I claimed victory over Dysart, but then on checking the answers, I’d made two blunders, so there was an update in the standings, and Dysart still has my number, 3-1.  But this week it’s on to Calmac.  New setter to me (the Listener site has a crossword from 1997 which was way back when I was barely able to complete a daily Times), but the name is given away and it appears to be a commenter I remember from Derek Harrison’s Crossword Club message board.

Oh – Trevor Crowther from the same place put my habit of naming regions of the grid after characteristics of America up last week and it got a little attention – thanks Trevor.  After reading it, I think that the best option would be to name the upper left corner “och aye” after scotland, the lower left corner “ooo arr” after the Wurzles, the lower right corner “cor blimey” after London and the upper right corner “eh guv” after Yorkshire.  Shows what I know.

Mind the Gap has a device I don’t recall seeing before – unclued words with no thematic singificance.  Sounds like an American crossword.  There’s a row in the middle that is also unclued and not mentioned in the preamble so there’s something fishy going on there.  Wish I could drag up whoever it was in comments way way way back who told me to look at the grid for unusual areas first – thanks to you.

There is a 1 across so we have a 1 across test.  And a victory, nice juicy anagram + IT for INTERNAL AUDITOR.  The preamble said 1 across wasn’t in Chambers, but it didn’t matter, I didn’t have Chambers with me, this was another Friday bar solve (Not looking on the cards for one of those today as I have appointments at 1 and 3, grrr).  Part of the mystery is revealed almost instantly, as there is another juicy anagram at 1 down for INDISCREETNESS which isn’t going to fit int that 13-cell space.  And a few solves later, ANAESTHETIST (anagram of HESITATES in ANT) means that there’s not enough cells.  Maybe there’s going to be some moving of these extra letters to make a message in that middle row?

Yikes, I’m running out of time here (writing the blog time).  Short story shorter, the clues were really generous, anagrams galore, and by the time I had finished three pints and a few slices of pizza, I had the entire top half of the grid filled out (once I’d seen that NO BRAINER, IRENE, SORDO, ETAS and TINSEL crossed, it looked apparent that these entries crossing the middle row were only going to be funny at the row itself), and was only missing a bit of the cor blimey corner.  And with 15 and 27 being the right length, it looked like POUR might be part of the message.

Back home with Chambers, Bradfords and the internets – RECULER POUR MIEUX SAUTER came out from the extra letters I had in the answers crossing the middle – MIND THE GAP… and so there is a gap of three letters in the middle.  I thought about cutting it out altogether, but figured that it was OK to leave there.  Took a little longer to find JAMBES and SCAMP, but once they were in I’ve got a completed (except for the gap) crossword. Woohoo!

My grid for Listener Crossword 4091:  Mind The Gap by Calmac

Almost all done at the pub. Now there’s a good show!

I was really in tune with the clues here and this was all said and done in the course of under three hours.  Which probably means I’ve slipped up somewhere, but for now I’m calling it a Victory to George!  Hope to see you again soon, Calmac.

2010 tally:  George 21, Listener 4.  Current streak:  George 1.

Wow, this is rather literal… someone taped the “Mind The Gap” announcement at Paddington Station (no teddy bear in sight, unfortunately) and stuck it on youtube.  And 54000 people have viewed it!!!! Must be a lot of fans of the announcement, is Calmac one of them?

Feel free to leave comments below, and see you next week to misprint some of Bufo’s auditions.