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If music is life, then does that make boy bands death?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, coming to you today from an early morning hotel room in Las Vegas. I’m leaving this morning, but there is a printer in the lobby, so I should be able to get a copy of 4504 before I leave, woohoo!

OKeydoke – KevGar time. What have we here – ten letters that need removal, words to be removed from clues, extra letters in wordplay to be removed. Lots of removing here. Let’s solve, shall we? I started this one out over a late morning coffee.

There is a 1 across, and it’s a nice juicy anagram of SURREALISTIC (extra M) so a big pass on the 1 across test woohoo! There’s another juicy anagram at the bottom of SYNTHESISERS (extra word LATER), so this grid is just waiting to be filled! I did pretty well through the clues, in fact by the time the coffee was finished a few things were apparent…

– the quote was something to do with MUSIC IS LIFE

– it was always the last letter that had to be dropped to leave a real word

Nothing else – I tried a little phone googling to see if I could make anything of the quote.  At the time I didn’t have some of the middle down clues solved (one of the ones I had n entry for, but couldn’t work out how it worked was 15 down, which I found out later had a correction), and I was thinking the quote was MUSIC IS LIFE AND I LIKE (not being dead?, being able to hear it?, puppies?).

Finally the grid was complete and there was no I after LIFE.  MUSIC IS LIFE AND LIKE IT … INEXTINGUISHABLE is a quote by CARL NIELSEN, a composer I am far more familiar of in crosswords than from any actual compositions. I figured the word might be in the sign of an infinity symbol, and there it is. Nielsen’s name can be made by a few changes i the diagonal and now we have to figure out another work from the word salad. Scanning a list of his works, THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS sounds like the best bet. I didn’t work out every possible letter combination, but it uses up those dropped letters and only contains letters found in the rest of the thematic stuff.

My working grid for Listener 4501, Never-ending by KevGar

This was pretty straightforward, about an hour at the coffee place and maybe another 90 minutes at home to get everything done and dusted.  I learned something, and even better I think I can call this one a Victory to George!

Game over: 100% completion

I am about to leave for two weeks in Japan. I’m going to try to write up the next two weeks in advance, so hopefully they post at appropriate times. Since one is a complete and utter abject failure, I don’t think the powers that be will mind. So feel free to tell me that I should be extinguished, and see you next week when Smudge becomes a slumlord.


Why does one wax the ceiling?

Welcome back to George actually tries the Listener Crossword.  Looks like I wasn’t alone in not being a big fan of last week’s Listener, though I liked one conspiracy theory that the puzzle was specifically written to affront crossword snobbery, a group of which I am proud to be a part of.

I have enjoyed the three previous KevGar Listeners, so I was looking forward to this – it was also the first of four Listeners to be solved during breaks in the play The Man Who Came To Dinner.  OK – what have we here – clashes (an unknown number) and resolution and highlights.  All real words in the grid… hmmm, so normal clues.

There is a 1 across, and it’s a strange type of clue – OVERLOOKS clued as a mash-up of LOVE and ROOKS.  Things get a little knotty from there – as running down from OVERLOOKS we have OWE, VASSALRY, ELKS and LIMA, but they don’t seem to play too nice with TAURUS for 12 across.  I know there’s going to be clashes, but with those three clashes in – and OYSTERCATCHER slotted in the middle column, the game might be given away very very early – when there’s WALRUSes and OYSTERs there’s going to be CARPENTERS…

The rest of the grid fill went pretty rapidly indeed – in fact to the point I don’t think I ever bothered solving 11 down, knowing it had to be CEILING WAX (though I didn’t think MISC was a possibility at 8 across – went to look up the poem to see that it is SEALING WAX and I’ve got a bit of a mondegreen going on.

My other hold-up was being so convinced that 26 down was LIN,O that I didn’t look up LIN to see if it was a badge, so I was scratching my head trying to figure out what the clashes there could make.  In the end it turns out MON,O fits and there were no clashes.

So we have resolutions to WALRUS, KINGS, SHIPS, SHOES, SEALING-WAX, CABBAGES and CARPENTER.  I finished with enough time to spare that I went through and figured out all the clashes for SERPENRTY, but never did get around to what 11 down originally was.  All in all a bit of light fun after my woes the last few weeks!

My working grid for Listener 4392, A Conversation by KevGar

Chalk up another enjoyable and accessible puzzle to KevGar, and I think we can finally claim a Victory to George!

2016 tally:  10-2-2

Feel free to tell me that I can’t claim it without solving 11 down, and I’ll see you next week when Little Hare gives us a French coming-of-age story.

It must suck to be a Greek gift shop owner

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, where last week saw a spectacular return to mediocrity!  Let’s see if we can right the ship with KevGar.  Last time we saw KevGar it was a rather fun but not too difficult puzzle with Haydn’s symphonies in mathematical form.  Now we have a spooky ghost story,ooooowooooooo.

Misprints in definitions spelling out something to find… and change at the end.  Hmmm, so real words in the grid and a mix of normal and definitions misprints clues, sounds deceptively straightforward (didn’t I say that last week?).  And for the first time in a while, we have a 1 across!

I couldn’t solve it right away (later on I kicked myself for not seeing it), but I did think “dining” stood out as a word that could be a misprint.

A few clues in and I was getting nowhere, so I resorted to my other sneaky tactic – try the last few clues.  We now have the 35 down second chance test!  L,EP and a quick peek in Chambers to confirm no misprint and we are away!  Not only that, but that P looks like 39 could be heading towards STOREKEEPERS from the definition and it is, woohoo!

This puzzle was worked from the bottom up – and fortunately the grid fill was not too difficult.  I had a few questions marks as I went along, and completely messed up 13 across by putting NAB and looking for definitions.  I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the misprints until I had a full grid.


Really?  Isn’t that like seven bajillion pages and in Latin?  It had better be the bit about the Trojan horse or I’ll be done.  Where on earth do you get started on finding a 25-letter phrase in the Aeneid?

Yay for my library having access to Oxford Dictionary of Quotations… Virgil gets a pretty long entry, though the bits I’m hoping for appear about half way through – the beware of Greeks thing goes TIMEO DANAOS ET DONA FERENTES.  There’s not many F’s in the grid, let’s start there – FERENTES can be made by starting near the bottom right and going across the second last line.  Bingo!

Fortunately it was not too bad from there to trace the quotation.  I worked backwards since it helped me get started with FERENTES.  Inside my rather chess-piece looking horse (if there is a B that needs to be changed to a German B or a Greek B I’m going to scream) there is a mixture of the letters of GHOSTS.  OK, I have to replace them with TROJANS… too many letters.  Duh, it’s not the TROJANS that were in the horse, it was full of GREEKS, all brandishing baklavas and souvlakis or something like that.

OK – GRUNTS could become GRUNGE and that makes AMENDS AMENDE (thanks for the French tip), ONDING obviously becomes ENDING… oh for fuck’s sake read the preamble , George – it’s just entered as GREEKS row by row.  All done!

My working grid for Listener 4353, A Ghost Story by KevGarDespite a little trepidation on having to find the quote, this was overall a nice bit of fun, symmetrical grid, and a rather neat looking endgame, so thanks KevGar, I’m back in town!  At least until next week…

2015 tally:  20-0-5

Feel free to tell me that my scribbled out lines don’t look that scribbled out, and I’ll see you next week when Ilver has clearly dropped a glass at a bar.

Where you been Haydn redux

Welcome back to George vs the Listener, and a quick observation of ANZAC day for my fellow Aussies.  I gave my friend Judy a recipe for Anzac biscuits a few years ago and she makes them for me every April.  Lest we forget.

OK, now we’re on to KevGar – we’ve seen KevGar once before in a Listener about Paul Wittgenstein, so before it all started I was thinking maybe another musical connection.  I’ve added it to the tags at the bottom of the post.

I was in a slightly unusual place when I started this one, a friend had invited me to a seminar on the philosophy of comedy, particularly Hegel.  My major take-home message from it is that Hegel thought if the hero survived it was comedy, if the hero died it was tragedy. So I have this idea of Romeo and Juliet suddenly becoming a comedy when they both wake up and say “It wasn’t poison, it was apple juice… ta da!”

Maybe I wasn’t paying complete attention because I was sneaking peeks at the Listener.

What have we here… numerical expressions, a series, another series… hmmm.. seven extra words. So most clues are normal and it looks like real words (though some unclued) in the grid, so this could be friendly.

There is a 1 across but it’s thematic (I guess I can give a pass on the 1 across test when it’s a thematic entry encompassing the entire row).  No luck intially with the second clue, but HALO not only gets us going but gives an S as one of the letters of a series, so woohoo!

The lecture went for 90 minutes… by the end of it I had about two-thirds of the grid filled… SCHOOLMASTER looked good for 1 across, PHILSOSOPHER (hey, I was sort of listening to one) at 10, MIRACLE at 6 and DRUMROLL or CRUMHORN at 36.  DRUMROLL sounds familiar – wasn’t it one of Haydn’s symphonies?  That means maybe there’s a CLOCK hiding somewhere – if 8 down isn’t ENGRAVE we could have not only CLOCK but also MERCURY.  Why was this so familiar?  There was a Haydn themed crossword five years ago on the 200th anniversary of Haydn’s death which also included DRUMROLL, CLOCK, and MIRACLE.

Back home after the talk, I didn’t have all of the extra words, but I had enough to think it was SQUARES, so I started out on that and confirmed the numbers of the symphonies to the functions of the squares.  A run-through of the symphonies confirmed BEAR and MIRACLE as my last two, and the grid was finished in about two hours.

My working grid for Listener Crossword 4288, A Birthday -A-B-C(E-F) by KevGar

Now for the last part – I figured with a three-letter symphony we’re HEN-pecking, and there it is.  I used to be good at this sort of thing, can we combine the numbers together in the right order?  Did you know there was a game show in Australia called “Letters and Numbers” where that was one of the rounds, to combine a series of numbers together to get as close to a target number as possible.  Here’s a clip.

Bonus points if you spotted the Listener setter.

Fortunately this one wasn’t too bad – I added the primes together and got 91, which is 8 greater than the number of the hen (83).  I need to use that more – mark of the beast = 666, number of the hen = 83.  So the 4 needs to be subtracted rather than added.

That was a lot of fun, and a nice breeze solve, thanks KevGar!

Not only that, but I think I’ve reached the amazing tally of 14 correct for the year, and the all-correct has not been busted.

Feel free to tell me about the sins of using previous instalments of George vs the Listener as a reference, and see you next week when Tibea contests the popularity of the Listener Crossword.