Vocational guidance chancellor

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, and another late post.  If I was an organized person I’d write these as soon as I get finished, but I usually don’t think about it until Thursday night or Friday morning, and my schedule these last few months has been pretty crazy on a Friday.  So here we are on Sunday, some of the dust has settled, and we all know what was going on.

My working grid for Listener 4469, Follow-my-leader by Harribobs

So what can I add?  I found this one intriguing – I cracked the theme almost immediately, as the crossing of DESKILLS with REIGNITE gave the extra letters that anagrammed to KIESINGER, and having already had GOSSAMER solved, then MILKER was worked out to give the current German Chancellor.  A quick check showed there have only been eight of them (and most of them were fairly well known names), and since we had the enumeration of the clues, it was clear where they should go.

Funny thing was that left a lot of sursolving in the bottom left in particular, where MUSK-COD held me up for a long time. Of course it was one of the entries that I knew I needed for the endgame because I had deciphered the message to use the bottom row and left column as index, which, after placing MUSK-COD and the last few answers in that row (I was still unsure of the wordplay for KISLEU) gave the location as PALAIS SCHAUMBERG.

So it was a quick start, slow bit in the middle and a fast finish once I got those last few answers. It was a clever way of introducing the theme, and I believe I can call it a Victory to George.

Game over:  98% completion (still a bit iffy on wordplay in KISLEU and why there isn’t an extra T in the clue for LOAF).

Feel free to tell me that my solving is the wurst (or my jokes) and see you next week when I will try to be on time and Stick Insect encourages us to fish for pelicans.


Dot dot dot dah… dot dot dot dah

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword!  And this is the last week of my five-month soujourn through the northeastern parts of the US which means soon I will be back in the world of printers!

It has been an intriguing journey doing the Listener without a printer – I replicate the grid in Crossword Compiler, copy the clues into a Word document and keep notes to myself on that.  Of course that means I haven’t even started on the circular grid that comes up in a few weeks.

So here’s what that word document looked like for this week’s challenge – Harribob’s puzzle.




–1 Dead body covers wallet with contact info (8)

B:  6    Woollen cloth placed on horse (6)

L:  12   René’s son eats goose with special delicacy (8)

A: 13   Sources of rubber used in sexual escapades (4)

C:  (E,FITCH)14         European with short paintbrush — a tool for portraiture (4)

K: (LA,BARACK)15 East of Louisiana, president informally ditches conservative moral standards (6)

O: OW(IE)NERS16   Landlords welcoming East Indian returning sausages (7)

U?  (ANOREXY)17   In Royal Variety, My Old Dutch possibly beset by some lack of appetite once (7)

T: 18    Ale must perk up such as Morse (6)

–19      Lamp saves Jones from the Devil (4)

L: 21    Sang up and down in the Rockies, whooped about over western face of Denali (7)

E: 24    American, spinning, fell into trap (5)

T: 25    Muttered mysteriously about soprano with most modesty (8)

–27      Sent back short glove, scarlet-trimmed (8)

T? (ET,TENS)30         Film with many old giants (5)

E:  33   A lady and I, we rudely interrupted (7)

R:  35  Prosecutor comparatively confident (4)

S (SO,BLAST)36       In due course blow up district of USSR (6)

I:  39    Native American profit on break-up of home (7)

–41      After one over the eight, maybe, tease a fop (7)

N (EN,DUN,RE)42    Tolerate René’s fidgeting astride horse (6)

M:  43 Country scrubs defile old-world charm (4)

O:  44  Cry from queen, recalling grief a moment (4)

–45      Leave mob rioting in Mobile (8)

R (SINGER,S)46        Forgotten poet, second (minor) Burns (6)

S (SALINITY)47       Brininess: it hides answer in faulty analysis (8)



–1 Activist runs into battered used car (8)

E:  2     An orb containing a well-focused lens (7)

–3 Benin treasury drops poor rate, having difficulty spending a penny (6)

C:  4    Join calcium to fluorine with difficulty (5)

O:  5    Being not yet excited about Italy (6)

D:  6    Tennis player, left-hander initially, in top-ranked group (5)

E:  A,NAN,EA7         Fruit before bread and water in some places (5)

A?  ASAR,U,LE(A)8 High-class pasture lies below gravel ridges generally (7, three words)

N: A(FAWN)LD 9     Fife’s honest alderman accepts rare flattery (6)

D:  RED,MOVIE10   Withdraw revolutionary film losing investment at the outset (6)

–11      Transposed Eastern American pastoral work (8)

E:  16   Regularly away in Leeds; a way in Stirling (4)

R: 20   One supporting bombast, one against (4)

A?22   Dry measure restricting Ohio, USA (4)

–23      Spinoza was one, but if Descartes was, then so am I (8)

S:  T(URN)AW,SAY: 26       Reject vase in marble, eg (8, two words)

MY,LO,DON: 28       I never did look over a giant sloth (7)

T:  (BT,MUD)29         Foolish baronet faces mounting slander (4)

–31      Raised arm to gain a little thing of value (6)

H:  32  Person holding mass in Lowestoft? (7)

E (WOOL,ERSE)33   Hair cut seen on Irish suitors (6)

R: 34   Unruly Serb MOD discharges from army (6)

E: 35    Somewhat contrarily, astronomer eschews lecture (6)

S:37     Extracting nitrogen, sifts loose rocks (5)

T:  38   Bits of bread around Papua New Guinea; browned bread around Spain (5)

–40      Small bay-windowed room in college (5)

All of that lead to this as the starting grid…

My first grid for Listener 4426, Dah-di-dah-di-dah

Which once I blocked out everything (I wrote the letters in the spaces next to the Morse code segments)


I didn’t find this one too difficult. Once I thought it was heading towards Morse code I was having nightmares of a near-unsolveable EV puzzle from a while back, but apart from a few false starts in blocking out (I guess one advantage of doing it entirely on the computer, I could go back to the original grid and re-shade), I believe we have a Victory to George, woohoo!  Both Harribob’s puzzles have been fun to do (though both have had an intricate endgame).

Game over – 99% completion (there’s one wordplay I still have a question mark on).

2016 tally: 40-2-6

Feel free to tell me that I wussed out on writing a ton of terrible jokes by extensive use of cut and paste and see you next week for the final (for now) entry in non-paper solving, when Bandmaster provides the other side of “Hold the door”.

Isn’t this the game where if you draw the wrong card, you get married?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, Harribobs time!  A new setter (or newdonym) who appears familiar (maybe from EV?), so hi Harribobs if you’re looking in!

What have we here?  Extra letters in wordplay, extra information and something about a game that feels oddly familiar – isn’t this one of those mathematics generated propagating thingys?  I saved the temptation to Google it and give away the ending at the beginning and got to solving some clues, after all it’s all real words in the grid and there is a 1 across, so we don’t have that very often!

Gentle start as E+POSTS reversed gives ESTOP and a big pass on the 1 across test, woohoo! That intersected with every barred-grid-solver’s favorite French soldiers, (s)POIL,US and the grid is off to a flying start.

I managed pretty well through the grid fill, though I will admit Harribob’s definitions were in general clearer than the wordplay, so I did a fair bit of what is known on another blog as “biffing” in clues – TRAVELLER and IN TOTO were prime examples, though later on in decoding the message I found TINTOT in Chambers as a coloring book.

A bit over an hour later, there’s a grid – a message, START LETTERS HAVE ELEMENTS OF LIFE SHADE SECOND GENERATION, and the mathematician CONWAY in the grid.  Time for the endgame…

OK… I was AWFUL at this.  I knew I was going to make a disaster of it on my original grid so I printed out another one and tried to do it… and ended up with an unholy mess.  So I made an excel spreadsheet and put X’s in the squares.  It looked like I was making an I near the middle but that was it.  At that point I started looking at Conway’s game of life online and found someone had made a flash version!

I used an app to get the shading solution

Phew!  Of course in transcribing it back to my grid I managed to shade one more cell than I should have on the first L

My working grid for Listener 4368, The Name of the Game by Harribobs

A pleasant debut from Harribobs, nice clues and a fun theme, even though I needed to stretch the limits of fairness to get that last part to fall into place.  In the end I think I can call it a Victory to George, woohoo!

2015 tally:  33-2-5

Feel free to tell me that I’m really losing at this game, and see you next week when Xanthippe has a puzzle that has to go with golf and ellipses