Yikes, I think I got one!

Welcome back to George vs the Listener, where when it rains, it pours Listener write-ups! Two in one day, and now back to only one day late, woohoo!

Salamanca time. OK, Salamanca’s puzzles have generally been on the easy side, but the way things have been going, that is exactly what I need!  Lyrics of a song… well we know it’s not Bohemian Rhapsody since Salamanca put it in a puzzle last year.  Unclued entries galore, and some six letter entries broken up into two three-letter entries.  Interesting…

I got going on this one and was having a really tough time with the bottom half (largely because I figured 33,36 was going to be CESTUI which fits the wordplay but completely misses the definition… the way I’ve been solving lately, why let that stop me?), but the top half was filling up pretty quickly, and in particular the top row was looking like ?EN?THEFO?K?  – BEND THE FORKS!!! That’s not Uri Gellar’s theme song, that’s a little ditty from The Hobbit!!!!!!!

Yes, I’m one of those that has residual memory from practically memorising The Hobbit as a kid. Must have read it 20 times. I didn’t make it through the three-movie version though.

So that was awesome, since the thematic material made up a huge chunk of the puzzle and took care of the CESTUI actually being CITOLE.  I was done in less than an hour.

My working grid for Listener 4479, Postprandial by Salamanca

That’s weird – I added the Windows 10 scanning app to my work laptop and it puts an automatic caption on images that I can’t seem to get rid of.


I saw in the notes that they didn’t worry about the dash at the end of the line, I didn’t think of adding it. Was that a point of pedantry? I haven’t looked at the other blogs.

Anyhoo for the first time in several weeks we have a victory to George! Thanks Salamanca for keeping it straightforward and fun, and picking a theme I actually know something about!

Game over, 100% completion.

Feel free to tell me that not all puzzles can be on the only book I’ve ever read, and see you next week when Agricola… oh shit, it’s a playfair.  Agricola reminds me maybe I should put this blog out of its misery.


Freddie Mercury took to his grave the secret of whether Scaramouche would do the fangango

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – and a return to the kind of normality from six months ago.  Back in Asheville at last and it only took about three shots at cleaning the print heads on the old inkjet before the big black machine started churning out crosswords printed on the back of unusued participation certificates.  We have normality, I repeat, we have normality.

Which is good, because I would have had a hard time with the circular grid without having a printout – crossword compiler doesn’t do circular grids (that I know of – feel free to tell me I have no clue how to use that software as well).

Aelfre!  I thought this was a new setter but it appears to be another alias of Salamanca (I didn’t know that until just now)… circular grid with crossing (and it appears very generous crossing) rings.  Some in, some out, and a line (presumably from a song).  This looks like it could be deceptively straightforward, hmm?

There is a 1 (in/out) and it is a nice gentle reversal of DE,SUER for REUSED and so we have a big pass on the 1 in or out test.  Then I realised I should have started with the arcs, since we know where all of them go… d’oh!

If I’d remembered ENID was a place in Oklahoma I would have been off to an even more flying start, but it was ERAS that went in first, confirming that ASIANS went inwards.  AVIARY, LEGLIN and MALGAM later and I have GALI in the third ring.  Is it Bohemian Rhapsody?  6 is HAMLET and this is looking promising.  I put in GALILEO and looked at the outer ring – LYMAT  suggests that the quotation is NOTHING REALLY MATTERS.

Hooo boy!  I’m 46, I was just starting high school when Queen made it big in Australia, and I was a huge fan.  I never had this as a single – I had vinyl copies of most of the albums.

With the outer ring filled, it was back to the radial clues, now knowing the first or last letter of each – this was all done in well under an hour, one of the fastest Listener solves ever for me.  Aelfire’s clues were fun and direct, so I didn’t mind having the thematic material in place with only six clues solved.  EMI appears in the scratches.


Fun theme and a new use of the spherical grid.  There have been some other outstanding uses of the spherical grid (Brighton Rock comes to mind) over the last few years.  I believe I can call this one a Victory to George and Game Over with 100% completion.

2016 tally, with three to go (fear not – at least one more will be a bust) 42-2-6.

Feel free to tell me that I should have misspent my youth in better places and see you next week when Paddock decides it is time to put away Cards Against Humanity and bring out Battleships

At long last, the TS ELIOT anagrams as TOILETS puzzle we’ve been waiting for!

listener_xwd_4374Greetings from GvL headquarters now in beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii.

I’m kind of pslammed for time here, there are beaches to get to and mai tais to be drunk, but I really really enjoyed a puzzle that finally got in the obvious anagram of TS ELIOT, as well as LITOTES, and STOLE IT giving FOUR QUARTETS.  Don’t mean to give Salamanca short shrift, but from a fun perspective, there have been few better puzzles this year.

Aloha, and see you Chrimstas Eve/Day (when I’ll be back in North Carolina, alas).