Two replacements, including a blog week?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword. Ever had one of those weeks where you were so busy you thought you had done something, and it turns out you didn’t?  Well guess who didn’t put Pointer in the picture.

My working grid for Listener 4489, Ocean-going Vessel by Pointer

I don’t have a great deal new to contribute (but then again, when have I ever had a great deal to contribute?) – the grid fill was lightning fast – less than 20 minutes. The first change was obvious, and there seemed to be only one plausible change in 2 down, but a few in 22 across,  I was getting nervous. Since everything changed twice, if it was 13 changing that would have to be SHIP OF THESEUS, which rang a bell (and looking it up, clearly this was what the puzzle was about), so I went to the other end and started knitting things back up from 6 down.

Gridfill:  20 minutes.  Spot the theme: 5 minutes.  Fiddle with those letter changes… fartoobloodylong! On the other hand I didn’t know TRIGGER’S BROOM, but when I saw BROOM as a possibility near the bottom it popped up, and I could get those last few changes.

Ponter’s puzzles have been nothing if not odd, and tend to involve a lot of grid changing (remember the alphabet soup one?). In the end I liked it, but it was mighty frustrating having so long an endgame.

Game over:  100% completion, and a hangdog victory to George (though not in the sense of getting a blog up in a timely fashion).

Speaking of which, I have less than two hours before the solution to REJOB comes out, so see you in a few hours for some numerical musings.

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In which we leave a conflict unresolved

Oh boy it’s been a rough day at George vs Listener central.  The entire Eastern seaboard of the US (self included) have a cold, and last night I sat down to start writing this and just couldn’t get it together – I got as far as putting the grid on the scanner and the eyelids started drooping.  To the extent that this morning  I woke up barely in time to make it to work for a series of bleary-eyed meetings.  And so, four hours after the answer has presumably gone up somewhere, welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword.

Two left to clear out 2013!  And this one is Pointer.  Two Pointers, two successful completions – I’ve tagged both of the old posts as Pointer, so you can peek back at them through a little link at the bottom if you so wish.  What have we here – remove words, something to do later, six clashes, a problem with clues.  Hmmmm, OK.  Well at least it’s all real words bar six clashes, so let’s get to solving.

The clues are almost all the same length.  Wonder if that means anything.

OK – there’s a 1 across, and the definition really looks like PARA, but it took a while to justify the wordplay PARA(SITE) – in any case we’re off.

It was a pretty steady gridfill with two moments of arched eyebrows – the first was seeing DOWNURN and TURNDOWN.  That was made curiouser and curiouser when I already had MILLHAND in the top half and thought of HANDMILL.

Next up – what’s going on with these extra words… EESSHDR… I’m not making any sense of this…

Does it mean that the clues are in the wrong order?  Does the top half of the grid switch with the bottom half of the grid?  That still won’t solve the problem with the first letters of extra words being nonsense.

I pressed ahead until I had a full grid, with six clashes…

my working grid for Listener 4272 - Conflict by Pointer

So what am I meant to do now?  The kept letters spell DRROER which is close to REORDER.  But I can’t see a systematic way of rearranging these clues to have real words in the message.  Are we meant to feed the whole set of extra letters into an anagram finder?

Pointer, you have me completely stumped as to where to go next, so in the penultimate Listener for 2013 we have a whopping great Victory to the Listener Crossword.  Better luck next year!

2013 tally:  37-7-7

Feel free to tell me I’m missing something completely obvious, and see you next week when Porlock sends us into a state of SONAMBulism.

A column about columns (in three column form?)

Welcome back to George versus the Listener, for the first time powered by Mac.  My old PC is having problems so I’m temporarily working on a Mac with a HUGE screen.   It’s also very bright, which is something we don’t have in common.

This week is Pointer – who we first met last year with Double Devilry, the first time I’d tried a Printer’s Devilry crossword, and I turned out to be better at it than I thought – to the point that my first PD clue got a HC in last year’s Azed comp!

This time we’ve got a curious beast – all clues are normal, so presumably there’s real words all over the place.  Four unclued entries and a few things to find.

Sounds like we could be in for a more gentle start!  And the 1 across test shows it – CAN in VAT for VACANT.  Fun clue!  Normality was resumed, as when this Listener came off the printer I was on my way to the usual bar for a pub solve.

I made pretty steady progress on this one – the left hand side of the grid filled up pretty quickly, and it looked like the long unclued entry was going to be CORINTHIAN, which would fit with the Vs in the title.  The one on the bottom looked like CAPITALS.  So I was thinking maybe we were looking for capitals of ancient Greece?

That wasn’t helping much at all, but the Greek theme continued with Ionic and Doric completing my unclued entries.  I finished bar solving time with an almost full grid, four unclued entries in and a plan to go look up capitals later.

Well, well, well – the things we learn… CAPITALS are the thingys on top of Greek columns, and there’s three types of them.  I saw CANTHUS as something that might be worth looking up, of course Google asked me if I really meant to look up ACANTHUS, which I did, thank you Google, and Chambers fills me in on the rest – ACANTHUS is the same shape as a CORINTHIAN CAPITAL.  And it’s right on top of the C!  Similarly ECHINUS works for the DORIC and the handy dandy Chambers search tool pops up VOLUTOID or VOLUTION for the shape of the IONIC CAPITAL.  And there’s a V right on top of IONIC.  And an O next to it.  No L in sight.

There’s a message…  maybe that will help.  First letters of clues don’t mean anything… OHHH – but there’s capital letters in some of the clue (that’s a sneaky trick, by starting 14 down with a lowercase letter).  CONSTRUCT EIGHT QUADRANT ARCS STARTING AT THE TOP OF COLUMN.

Took a little finding – but if you use quarter circles getting progressively larger, you can spell out VOLUTION!

Nifty trick, and I learned something today!  Here’s a non-highlighted, but spirally grid

My grid for Listener 4159, Crovvword by Pointer

This was a fine piece of construction and had some eye-opening moments.  What I liked the most was how the theme unravelled itself – it was nowhere near in my range of knowledge at the start, but everything was get-at-able.

Thanks, Pointer!  And I’m going to call this one a Victory to George!

2011 tally:  George 34, Listener 8.  Current streak:  George 8

Feel free to leave comments below, and see you next week when Calmac gauges our stress levels.