I was really flagging at the end of this one

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword Only a few hours late today, but bonus points for not having the grid scanned. Buckle in, it is going to be a bumpy ride.

MynoT time! I generally like MynoT puzzles, so let’s get started. Now I could have made this much easier if I had checked back through my list of MynoT puzzles earlier to see that he had one that was a Swiss flag. Anyhoo, what have we here? Jumblies… lots of them, but some sort of order, and extra/missing letters to show something.

Even though I knew they were jumbled, 1 across did leap out at me because I had done another puzzle somewhere where BREAMED came into play, so I knew it was BEAMED. Can’t put it anywhere. I ran through the acrosses and got quite a few of them, jotting the words beside the grid, though that didn’t help me much with BELLINI. Shouldn’t there be a law against having more than two jumbles per row or column? I’ll start a list of George’s completely unofficial laws of crossword conduct.

OK, back to the puzzle… after slotting in some down answers I was noticing a lot of double letters… are we in for bell-ringing? Particularly on the right hand side, there’s a lot of STURY… hmmm. But it is not quite alphabetical.

I also had FALO in the circles, so I was starting to suspect that the grid is going to end up a FLAG OF something…

Ohhh… is the alphabet divided up to make regions to colour in a flag? I had COLOU in the extra letters.  A check on flags, and the flag of GUINEA is the reverse of the flag of MALI (that would explain the title). The alphabet is split into the coloured regions, and GREEN is on the right which would explain VERT near the end of the down extra letters.

This was all completed with a pretty empty chunk on the left hand side, though knowing only the first third or so of the alphabet could complete 18 gave me FACE-ACHE, and the possible left over letters from acrosses gave me AHAB though I cannot see the wordplay.

I’ll put the grid in here when I get home.

I liked the flag and it was a fun grid with all the letters shuffled to sides, but I must say I never worked out all of the message, nor got a few of the wordplays, so although I can call it a Victory to George, I cannot get 100% completion.

Game over:  89% completion.

Feel free to tell me that the solution was waving in my face the whole time, and see you next week when tnap somehow separates a feline.


At least the puzzle wasn’t written around the theme “silence gives consent”

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.  A few hours late, and I’m not sure if I will get this done before I have to get on the road.

So let’s get down to it – Silence was carte blanche and the top and bottom row were unclued. Clues were normal and sitting right in the middle is a 15-letter entry which looks like it could be an anagram – which it was, of DURCHKOMPONIERT.  Of course I came up with that by myself and not an anagram solver (I can lie as well as anyone else in crosswordland). Anyhoo, we skipped the 1 across test for the “obvious 15-letter answer in the middle of the grid” test.

We also know where the across clues end, and with 15 letters in the row and an entire row unclued, it made sense that the second and penultimate row have these answers completely filling them (though on a first pass I only got OREADES at the top and ONCEOVER at the bottom.  This was enough to make a good start on the grid, eventually running in to a problem where AD REM wouldn’t fit anywhere!  There was an obvious spot for the unclued entries, and AD REM should have gone through them, but huh?

A bit later and there’s another problem – IN KEY, DUE TO and TWO PM also have nowhere to go.  They are all two word phrases… aaaah?  Do they straddle the middle line and the space count as a character?  But what goes in the middle?

I had ANTWO?T in the top row.  Is this a puzzle to do with DIE ANTWOORD?  Hmmm…

There’s no mention of ODQ for the six word phrase… maybe it is one of the ones in Chambers?  Something in Afrikaans?  Nope, turns out it is German – KEINE ANTWORT IST AUCH EINE ANTWORT.  No answer is the same as an answer – so these are left blank. My working copy is a bit of a mess, but here ’tis.

My working grid for Listener 4455, Silence by MynoT

I thought this was going to be a daunting task, but with the symmetry restrictions and the generous long answers in the acrosses, it wasn’t too bad, and was all done in two sessions (the first one being at the rather nice deck at French Broad Brewing).  That was fun MynoT, and I think I can claim a Victory to George.  Though now I’ve seen the solution online and the bigger victory is to M Goodliffe who managed to add to his voluminous crossword swag collection.

Game over – 100% completion, woohoo!

Feel free to tell me to go shove it up my Durchkomponiert and see you next week when Malva introduces us to some leafy trees.

I’d like to take you on a symbolic journey through the world of time and space

Welcome back to George vs Deadlines.  This time it’s a mildly amusing story – as soon as I had made coffee and was ready to sit down and write this… fire alarm!  Had to leave a steaming pot of coffee (I’m already in trouble for stopping to grab my laptop in a fire drill, I’m sure I’d be in severe trouble for rescuing the coffee carafe) and this blog, and by the time I got back in my whole day was thrown out of order.  So welcome to the Friday night glass of cheap port edition of George vs the Listener Crossword.

Featuring the second puzzle of the year and it’s MynoT.  I made a bit of a hash out of the first few MynoT puzzles, but lately I’ve tackled him pretty well.  This time we have a jigsaw grid and anomalies with one unclued entry and some clues having extra letters in wordplay.  OK… guess I should just go solve it, right?

Jigsaw clues mean who knows what goes at 1 across (though there is a 1 across), but the first clue is a gentle ACT(A)S so solving is underway.

I did pretty well with a first run through the clues, and it appeared the best bet for the top left, where two 10-letter entries intersect was the PANEGYRICS/PINSTRIPED pairing, helped with NOUGATINE and IWI helping knit it together.

This nice start led to the first pieces of major confusion – it was clear one of the long down clues was going to be TRANSsomething, and probably match the clue that begins “America is engaged” but there isn’t 11 spaces.  In fact there don’t appear to be any 11-character or 8-character lights, despite there being clues that had 8- and 11- letter answers. Hmmmm

As the grid was coming close to being filled it was obvious there was a key here somewhere.  It was back to this first conundrum that got me started – if it was TRANSFUSERS crossing MARCESCIBLE, then MA and RS had to… OH – MARS.  So somewhere up the top I was pretty sure URACIL had to go, so if it met something that ended NUS, like CRONUS, then we have some planets.

And they are all on the diagonal, I guess close to their relative positions from the sun… oh and the sun is also there at the bottom!

I never quite finished the message but it was SYMBOLI?S?CLASHES – so we are meant to replace the planets with symbols.  I had a bit of a hard time finding the symbols – I could have sworn they used to be in Chambers, maybe they were in older editions?  They aren’t in Brewer, so I’ve got to rely on online lists.  I am still not 100% sure which Earth symbol was required.

My working grid for Listener 4380, Stomach by MynoT

I’ve just peeked at the solution notes on the Listener website, and it appears there was a little latitude as to the choice of symbols, so I think my entry will be accepted.

I finished this in one pretty long session with a few breaks (maybe four hours total) so it was a little more difficult than the first puzzle of the year, but once I saw the theme it was a pretty quick finish, particularly for a jigsaw.  I believe I can call this one a Victory to George!

Feel free to tell me that I should really write these blogs in advance or when the puzzle is fresher in memory, or just lock yourself in during a fire alarm since it would be a mercy killing, and see you next week when Towser describes my solving skills perfectly.

It’s an imposition, not sure how super it was

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword from a week ago.  Ended up stuck in Florida last week, and I guess since there’s so many old people there, it is the land without WiFi!  Couldn’t get on from anywhere, so this went unblogged and I got super busy when I got back.  Yeah, I know, excuses, excuses.

It does mean I expect most has already been said about Listener 4316 except that… take a bow, MynoT – you are the first setter two get a Listener in George vs the Listener for which I’d already set the tags!  I started the tags at the beginning of 2014 to save taking longer over the recalling of the setter’s previous puzzles than the rest of the blog.

OK – I have slipped out of my old routine, but this one was printed out and taken to a late liquid lunch at the usual crosswording spot – I even got the corner of the bar!  Good sign… what do we have – a black spot in the middle of the grid, and clashes that have to be resolved and we have to prove we resolved them and didn’t just use guesswork.   O…. K…. You don’t trust us to resolve clashes on our own, MynoT?  Probably a safe bet.

There is a 1 across, but I couldn’t make head or tail of it at the time… so a fail on the 1 across test! 4 across was definitely (C)EASED which gets us going.  Since the clues were normal I made a pretty decent first of it in the bar – my first three clashes spotted were all E/L so I was wondering what that meant, but then I got two R/P ones.  Hmmm… and then two E/F.   Well it seems to be consistent letters, what do they have in common?

And then two V/W clashes… those are cars aren’t they?  Looks like for real words the R’s have to take it over the P’s, the E’s over the L’s and the W’s over the V (thank you SEESAW for two of those).   Aaaaahhh…. is it really a clash?  The other letter can fit inside the first one.  That’s nifty… I bet you there’s an O,Q clash somewhere – is OAT a word that means something like the answer to 1 across?  Yes! Bingo!

I had most of the grid filled before this discovery – and that degree in Chemistry comes good again, because in optical activity, you’re looking at isomers that can be SUPERIMPOSIBLE or NON-SUPERIMPOSIBLE so it looks like SUPERIMPOSITION will fit the two words of the title.  Woohoo!  There was a little sursolving to go, the last being the BRIDAL/PLAST/ANAMNESES intersection.

My working grid for Listener 4316, Delightful Punishment by MynoT

Hey, cool!  I saw the solution and I think I got this one.  Victory to George, 2014 tally 34-0-7

Feel free to explain to me the black square in the middle.  Is it maybe a clash of all letters of the alphabet written all over each other?

This blog will be unreedable

Welcome back two George vs the Listener Crossword, the blog wear won man trys two keep an awl-correct year intact bye the skin of his teeth (and is won of too bloggers left standing).

MynoT!  Eye have only once successfully solved a MynoT Listener!  Last thyme eye was very close butt know cigar.  This could bee my downfall.

This weak seas MynoT give aweigh the game in the title.  It seams that homophones are going two bee the thematic treatments, sum in clous and sum in definitions. Eye wasn’t quite shore, butt 44 across stood out inn a quick glance of down clous.

Oh buoy, now awl that is left is to sursolve.

We’re to go from here?  Eye maid very slow progress threw the grid, since eye talk funny two begin with, sew finding homophones was a bit dodgy. Eye had ground two a holt after a few daze and was trying two get something from the message inn the perimeter, witch was knot making a lot of cents. Eye had a phew letters inn the right-hand corner, witch looked like they could bee WILL TAKE CARE OF. Googling four quotes using this frays went nowhere, butt I wondered if they’re was a whey to make this work.  If 12 down was KNIGHT their could bee a K in the perimeter, and maybe TAKE CARE OF THE could bee the start of the quotation.  That helped inn placing ALEXIA, CHARON, TAVERNS and confirmed 7 down was likely LOOT for LUTE. Eye tried two keep a Liszt of clous and answers wear eye had found the homophones.

list of homophones for Listener 4290

Bye the end of the weak, I was close… awl that was left two finish was the top rite – TAKE CARE OF THE ????DS  Two long four TAKE CARE OF THE WORDS.  Eye didn’t have an entry four 6AC, 18AC had to be DONAH from the wordplay butt eye couldn’t figure out the definition. 16AC was a strage clou – I think it is definition, wordplay, definition (with a homophone) two give TEN(OR)S… witch makes the perimeter ??(A/U)(N/O)DS…   aaah – SOUNDS.  It appears two bee a quote from “Alice In Wonderland” with SENSE and SOUNDS switched.

My working grid for Listener 4290, All Write for the Listener by MynoT

Eye don’t no if this maid it to John Green in thyme, butt eye think eye have it awl sorted out.  Woohoo!

I’m going two call this a Victory two George, and maybe, just maybe, the all-correct survives again.

2014 tally:  16-0-0

Feal free two Cher comments below, and sea ewe next weak when Schadenfreude asks us two MAXON, MAXOFF, MAXON, MAXOFF


If this Listener was an army knife, it would come with a screwdriver, can opener, night light, arc welding kit and tattoo needle

Welcome back to George versus the Listener (and various other things).  So far so good for the year, but now we’re up against MynoT.  First time I ran up against MynoT we had an almost empty grid for Past Times, and then last year I had a really tough time with Quartet, but got there in the end. Just.

So I knew we’re in for a toughie.

Preamble is short – one letter removed, and a theme to be deduced.  So clues are normal and there’s a message from the removed letters.

There is a 1 across and a pass on the 1 across test with OF,FEN,CE getting me started.  What it doesn’t give me is the first letter of the message, because the only crossing down entry I could see straight off is FOETOR and that could be put in with the removal of any letter in OFFENCE.  Bugger.

C(ONCE)AL got me going, and with it crossing NATO (WOTAN reversed without the W), ICI,C,LE, ALI,CANT and LILLIPUTIAN I’ve got a good corner going.  This was an exercise in corners – if you can read well from the scan, I started in black ink and finished in blue, so it was the New England corner followed by Texas.

I wondered if there was going to be something in the first letters of clues, since I saw THIS OLD as the first letters of the first 7 clues, but nothing after that.

When trying to decipher hidden messages, look for LETTERS, CELLS, GRID and SHADE.  The telltale CELLS was there at the end of the across options, LETTERS there near the end, CONTAINING just before that and COLOUR APPROPRIATELY CELLS CONTAINING LETTERS OF THEME gave me the last of the omitted letters.

I needed those omitted letters to get the rest of the clues, some of the last holdouts being DEVASTATE, L(IE)VER, L(I,ONCE)L, FAIN,T,ER (though I knew element 68 was Erbium) and RACNH,I.

I still didn’t have a good answer for 40… but for some reason SICE stuck in my head.  It may not be right.  Here’s what the grid looked like (actually I scanned this after figuring out the theme and writing it in).

My initial grid for Listener 4120, Cross-country by MynoT

Here’s the original grid

Now what?  Nothing in the traditional places where you’d find 21 letters, diagonals, crosses (like MynoT did in Quartet).  There SUM and SSY looking like the top half of a cross.  Could it be one of those countries that uses a cross as a symbol?  We’ve had Malta recently.  Finland?  Switzerland? A little googlyooglying and Wikithingia says CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA – and all those letters outside the cross are the same as the letters outside of my little cross of SUMs, SSYs and YUPSMSs.

But that’s 22 letters.

Chambers to the rescue – under the entry for CH it has it spelled as CONFEDERATIO HELVETICA.  I’ve already scanned the one where I excitedly wrote in the 22 letter version, so just imagine that second O is gone.  Hey, I can save myself more scanning by just using the rather cheesy highlight tool in MS Paint!

My final grid for Listener Crossword 4120, Cross-country by MynoT

MS Paint Highlighter to the Rescue! For CONFOEDERATIO read CONFEDERATIO

Apart from not being 100% sure on SICE, it’s looking like a Victory to George!

Tough one – I had a bunch of little stabs at this trying to get the grid together before getting the breakthrough with the message.  You’re a handful, MynoT – are you determined to make me learn a little more European history each time?

2011 tally:  George 3, Listener 0.  Current streak:  George 3

Not so fast there, knucklehead…

Of course it can’t be SICE because there’s no S in CONFEDERATIO HELVETICA and it has to be part of the red area.  Undone by 40 down!  Bye bye all-correct in the third week.

2011 tally:  Listener 1, George 2.  Current streak:  Listener 1

Oh – if you follow Times for the Times I was a little naughty on Thursday, since COLON appeared as an answer and was part of the wordplay for 1 down.

And if you happen to be in Asheville on March the 1st, come see this…

Promo Posters for the Crackers of Comedy

This will be a very funny show. Oh, and me.

Feel free to leave comments below and see you next week when we unravel the to ellipse with Navajo.

Look Ma, no Vivaldi!

Hi there, thanks for checking in.  It’s another Friday morning in the sunny but cold south-east of the US, and time to crib together a bunch of notes on my weekly battle with the barred-grid beastie.  So far so good for the year, though history has shown that won’t last for long.  This week we’ve got Quartet by MynoT, who has made an appearance here once, with “Past Times“, which was a MASSIVE FAILURE here at George versus the Listener and a completely utterly empty grid.  So my heart sank initially on seeing this name and this not-quite-carte-blanche (let’s call it carte blanchish) grid.

Not only are we back in the deep freeze for solving, but we’re in there four times!  My first solving “session” was a couple of sneaks and peeks, all of them without dictionaries, looking at the clues I suspect Bradfords will come into play a lot, but here’s what I’ve got (no point scanning a grid, it’s empty)

Set 1:

FAN,FARE, something that looks like it should be GASPAR but I don’t think that’s right, PRO something,  SEIRS.  Not going to be able to put in much there.

Set 2:

EASTER, KNURS, RUB OUT (which means something far more sleazy in these parts), SNARERS, TANGUN.   Half of the entries, may be able to piece something together.

Set 3:

ADDISON, DISTORT, SOUSED, STOMPER, UTTER – well I know all three of the 7-letter entries, so maybe I can figure out which quadrant this is. Though there’s lot of common letters there.

Set 4:

BESHREW, COMBINE(?), something like REVAL(?), STOLE?

Looks like Set 3 is the best bet to get going.

This one is taking some doing.  I don’t think COMBINE is right, and I’ve found a starting point – with all three seven-letter entries found in set three, and not a lot of letters in common, they seem to fit well in the hippy corner.  There’s that tempting W at the end of BESHREW and WEENS that makes me think that set 4 go in one of the two bottom corners, trying them both out the Texas corner looks like a better fit – I can get all of my words for that corner except STOLE in… starting to think that the answer may not be STOLE.  Aaargh!

This is really frustrating – I can’t figure out yet which set goes in which corner.  I was trying to make the three six-letter words from set 2 fit into the locking six-letter squares in the two right hand corners, but not getting there.  Here’s what I’ve got now…

I’m glad I scanned that grid, because then I lost it.  I can’t find that copy at all.  I knew this was going to take some extra slogging, so I printed out two grids.  A new grid was a good thing, because two problems were resolved while re-filling.

– SOUSED could go in two places!  Putting it in the horizontal gave me HODMEN and took care of the rest of the top-right corner.  Not only that but the diagonal is AUTMN which looks very close to AUTUMN

– Either STOLE or REHEARS is wrong.  Not only would RETESTS fit, but it makes that diagonal WNTER.  What’s the chance there’s going to be mutilated seasons.

Now we’re really on to something – I can see THINGS ARE PRODUCED in the outside using the extra letters, and a google of that with “FOUR SEASONS” and I have THE FOUR SEASONS RUN THEIR COURSE AND ALL THINGS ARE PRODUCED.

That M from HODMEN looks like a good place for MITUMBA to start, and that clinches the positions of the last two quartets.  With the quote in place, and the seasons acting as extra checking letters, all that was left was to find those last few lingering words.  Set 1 gave me the most trouble (though I did hit myself on the head when GNEISS appeared!) with the last in being SEAFIRE (though all the letters were in place before I found the word).

Wow – I nearly gave up there, I spent more time trying to find the first quartet fit than on anything else in this crossword.  It’s a pretty stunning grid (as was MynoT’s last one that I couldn’t get out) and I’m doubly amazed that it was achieved using rather few out-there words.

I’m calling this one a Victory to George and the start of the year run is on in earnest.  I’ve beaten my run from the start of last year!

2010 tally:  George 7, Listener 0.  Current streak:  George 7.

I was hoping to bring you something new of mine today but the video hasn’t been posted yet.   So here’s a timelapse made by someone else in my town of the type of unusual weather we’ve been having in Asheville lately.  I’ve lived here 10 years and never seen so much snow!

Feel free to leave comments, and see you next week for some devilry of the print style with Qid.