Is Schadenfreude trying to say that the current president is not prime?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, entering an 11th year of mediocrity and jokes in poor taste.

This may be a brief post, because I scanned my grid and tossed it in the recycling before writing the column, so I have to go from memory.  I do remember thinking – hey, don’t we get let into the new year gently and not hit with Schadenfreude until like March or so, but that was not the case, instant Schadenfreudification!

What have we – checked cells that need more than one, words removed from clues, a code and numbers going in.  Interesting…

There was a 1 across, but I couldn’t work it out at the start, so a demoralizing fail on the 1 across test! In fact it wasn’t until ENCALMS that I solved an across clue, and then I couldn’t put in the grid because I couldn’t figure out which cell needed two letters.  Bugger!

The penny didn’t take a particularly long time to drop thankfully, and it was a big rush on the left hand side of the grid.  I had JOHN BULL, and with IMAUMS, POLYGLOTT and ESILE that meand that the POL had to go in a single cell, and JOHN in another.  I couldn’t figure out an answer for 1 across that worked with POL, but 1 down really looked like it should be some version of PERSONsomething. PERSONALTY worked… so JOHN and SON with the title of the crossword makes it sound like it is P + RESIDENTS.  Which means POL must become POLK and the crush of letters in one cell doesn’t have to be multiple letters from each word.  ADAMS and BUSH appeared in the top row – there’s been two of each, so there has to be a way to separate which one is the double duty clue.

So now I knew I was looking for presidents the clues started to fall in droves, and with them the message – at first I thought it was SEQUENCE OF SIXTEEN NUMBERS, but I had done some calculations in the middle and it was SEQUENCE OF PRIME NUMBERS!  I knew both BUSH’s were prime number presidents.  At this point I wrote the rest of the prime number ones beside the grid to finish it off.

my working grid for Listener 4484, Quiet Guests by Schadenfreude

This was all finished in one pretty long solving session (three hours or so) and my last in was right near where I started – I was sure that there was a president lurking in the first cell of 5 across, but it was not to be – MONROE was a cell to the left.

I have to hand it to Schadenfreude, his grids are always packed with thematic material and usually lead to pleasing real-word grids, and this was very well constructed. I might have been more frustrated if the subject wasn’t at the forefront of my mind.  Trust me, if you live in Trumpydoodleland, you are reminded of presidenty things every day.

Best of all, the year appears to begin with a Victory for George, and all is understood!

Game over:  100% completion.

Fell free to tell me that I’m able to make Trump look smart, sane and competent, and see you next week when Miss Terry offers us an emotional salad.


Check out the ass on Buridan!

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.  Posting out of turn since I still haven’t quite gotten around to writing notes on Colleague’s puzzle which seems to have attracted a bit of attention as to whether the endgame was easy to spot or not.  Anyhoo – it’s Schadenfrude time!  Which means taut clues (and look at ’em – 9 down is an outlier but there’s a lot of four- and five- word clues), and usually a tricky theme.  Omitted letters in wordplay, and some erasing in the grid at the end.  Hmmm, OK – well at least it looks like all real words in the grid!

There is a 1 across, but it wasn’t one I got on the first go so a big fail on the 1 across test… better luck with 5 down where T(ALL)IER gets us going.  Shortly after that comes the first missing letter – the D in LENDS not being indicated, and a nice big circle goes around the D.  12×12 grid this week means it’s going to be easier to put extra things in cells, we seem to have had some big grids lately (and many of you know the Big Grids will return next week)

The top right started to pose a problem shortly after that – I saw that 12 across was a definition for BLUE-EYE with the B unindicated, so a big circle went around the B.  9 down looked like EYING – EGG for MINE seems to be popping up regularly, but it really looks like 14 is NAIF with the I unindicated… so can it be that when an unindicated letter is in a checked cell it appears in one answer but not the other?

That might explain 7 down being LUMA with the U appearing in BLUEEYE but not in LUMA.

Why is this bugging me?

Even though it was bugging me, I think Schadenfreude went a little easier on us clues-wise this time (or after doing so many I’m wise to the tricks), and the grid was completed in a little over an hour.  Woohoo!  Now to the rest of it – I don’t see anything obvious in the grid, and my unindicated letters read BUIDAN SSS.

A poke through Chambers and there is BURIDAN’S ASS…  that looks more promising – where does the R come from?  Oh – 13 isn’t SHARDS, it’s SHERDS and then the R isn’t indicated.  Where’s the other A?  Oh – I thought I’d already circled the A in SARDAR, but it was unindicated in OSAGE, so it’s the other one.  OK…

What’s on the diagonals – there is a DONKEY in the middle.  So there’s food somewhere?  There’s a SATAY in the bottom right corner, I used to love SATAY! Don’t see any other food… would a donkey like a nice plate of BLUE-EYE?  They’re not equal distances, though.  Aaaaah – also diagonal there are two CARROTS.  So the donkey isn’t going to starve, he is going to pick a carrot, any carrot…

One of the CARROT’s (the one on the top left) makes real words when you write over the letters with the DONKEY, the one on the bottom doesn’t… so we erase the DONKEY and put him on the CARROT on the top left.  Here’s the working grid (the highlighting I had for the donkey and carrot, although in the appropriate color) didn’t scan well.

My working grid for Listener 4363, Demolition by Schadenfreude

I certainly learned something there, I wasn’t aware of the story of the ass, and it was a nice puzzle but I was a little annoyed about the omitted letters not being consistent in across and down answers.  I’m sure that’s a minor nitpick for a puzzle I think I can call a Victory to George!

2015 tally:  28-2-5

Feel free to tell me that I should have finished Colleague’s blog first since Schadenfreude doesn’t read blogs, and see you next week when Ottorino finds that his first 18 plans have failed, and it’s on to Plan T.

toab ruoy, wor, wor, woR

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – I’ll start with a bit of an admission – the last few weeks have been kind of scatty, with a new show, turnover at work and a slew of interviews, so I am kind of behind on solving, and even more behind on submitting.  So this is a puzzle I am writing about that did not wing its way across the Atlantic Ocean and I’m sorry Schadenfreude would not be getting any comments from me. I was told once that Schadenfreude does not like the interweebs so maybe he won’t see this at all.  Should I write it?  Eh, why not.


OKeydoke, even though we have already had a Schadenfreude Listener this year it came at an awkward time for me so I hadn’t created a tag.  Tag now created, so scroll down to see some of my highlights of battles with Schadenfreude.  What have we here – omitted letters in wordplay, a word, an instruction, wordplay only, lots of stuff going on.  And all across answers are thematically treated.  Yikes, let’s start on the downs.

There is a 1 down and HAM,LET gets us going, so  a pass on the newly re-christened 1 down test!  Let’s peek at these acrosses maybe – HAMLET crosses METAL and REST… and has one of the letters, so it could be jumblies.  Spotting MELEE at 4 down seems to confirm the jumble possibility. That was about it for that quadrant for a while.  Further down the downs was INDIA, the first I spotted of the “wordplay only” clues.

Trying to get MAINTOP, NONPOLAR and INDIA to slot together was when the obvious smacked me in the face… they’re not jumblies, they’re just reversed, right?  Now all the across ones I’ve solved can fit in, and it looks like the other countries are LIBERIA, SRI LANKA, ERITREA and TOGO

AHA!  Now the grid may not contain real words, but I have some checkers to get me through the rest of these across clues – invaluable in solving what could be ANATTO or ANATTA (bugger it, the letter that isn’t clear is the one that is left out of wordplay – is Schadenfreude going to give us a puzzle with two to the power of 12 solutions???).  Same thing with BRAISE or BRAIZE.

Ugh… it wasn’t until I had a complete grid that I was able to start to piece together the extra letters – there were a couple of alternatives for the unindicated letters… alternatives?  ALTERNATIVES! Oh bugger me – is this the second time this puzzle an answer was staring me at the face to the point where if I was a dog I would have bitten it.  Yep!

Well, NATIVES is an answer running backwards, and it could become NATIONS by changing those two letters, which makes 24 down STERNS… and there it is in Chambers – STERNS means “to row backward” and we have a puzzle!

My working grid for Listener 4318, Wordplay by Schadenfreude

I think I made more of a mess of this as I went along than I should have, but at the end I can call it a fun and neat Victory to George.

2014 tally:  36-0-7

Feel free to tell me to learn how to solve a crossword, and see you next week when Ferret makes a film of some features.

More pool, this time with a smaller grid – pocket pool as it were

Hi from G v L – I’m on a sudden trip and have pretty sporadic internet connection – so here’s the grid, and it may be a few days before a full report appears.

My working grid for Listener 4291, MAXON by Schadenfreude

A subtle message about gun control?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, your source for bad jokes about 500-odd-people’s favorite weekly puzzle.  I believe I read somewhere that Schadenfreude shuns internet crossword commentary, so maybe I should just throw the grid in and be done with it.  Hi Schadenfreude if you really are looking in.

Been a while since we’ve seen the mysterious Schadenfreude – last appearance in 2011 with Brief Appearances, which I couldn’t come close to solving.  Before that was Language Balancing with the Maltese Cross theme, which I got, BAT which I was perilously close on, Terminal Suspension where I spotted the theme but missed the ending, Overhead Reduction (similar pattern).  So watch me be a square or two shy here as well.

Solving in unusual places once again, I was proctoring a 3-hour exam for the US National Chemistry Olympiad

What have we here – jigsaw-style clues, alphabetical order of answers, definition misprints.  Four blank entries, names and a cipher. Hmmm…

Well there is no 1-across but there is a first clue, and a wait a minute, there’s only three letters in the answer but no three-letter answers in the grid?  As the kids say, WTF, Schadenfreude?


Before solving a single clue, it’s time to start asking questions…  I counted up the number of 8,7,6,5,4 letter answers in the grid, and the number of 8,7,6,5,4,3 letter answers in the clues.  Only two 8 letter clues, only two 7 letter clues.

Hmmm… are we putting two three-letter answers together, or jamming a three and a four together?  It’s a definite that two of the 8 letter entries have to be blank ones, and probably two of the 7 letter entries.  If those 7 and 8’s around the outside of the grid were the blanks, that would give me 6 3-letter entries.  AHA!  I think I know what’s going on with the grid.  Pat on back and let’s solve some clues.

Still couldn’t figure out that first one but with BAD,GE,RED and a misprint O I’m on my way.

Solving the clues was not too bad, and on a first run through I had more than half of them.  With only two 8-letter answers I was feeling pretty good about SIXAINES going on the bottom with the X in the unchecked entry and BLOOPED as my 7-letter in the upper half crossing BRA since it didn’t look like there was going to be a 3-letter entry starting with M to check MALTHUS.  I started building up a grid from those three entries, and that was looking pretty good… since BRA was one of the first that I placed, the names have to start with a C…  and then a Z from BERLIN.  CZ?  Someone CZECH?  O from BADGERED and L from INULAS and I had a pretty stunning (quite literally penny) dropping moment.

CZOLGOSZ was the guy who shot McKinley!

Why on Earth do I know that?  I’m studying for my US Citizenship exam, and since it’s mostly civics, dead presidents are things you are meant to know about!  And this fits – there have been four assassinated – LINCOLN, KENNEDY, MCKINLEY and GARFIELD – I couldn’t remember the name of the guy who offed GARFIELD, but the interweeb on my phone can clear that up – GUITEAU.  So CZOLGOSZ, GUITEAU, BOOTH and OSWALD together have 26 letters.  That’s neat!  Put in the names and we have real words around the outside of the grid.

My working grid for Listener 4237, Restitution by Schadenfreude

Not quite done, there’s still this cypher to work out.  I’ll admit I did it backwards, since H could only be T,  C could only be A, and E could only be M, filling in those made it look like DEMOCRAT VICTIM at the end.  USE BLUE SHADING FOR THE MOST RECENT AND ONLY DEMOCRAT VICTIM.  So KENNEDY is in blue, and I think he’d like it that way.

This was a really excellent puzzle, with a theme that probably kept the Brits guessing more than the displaced Australians reading too much about US History.  Sneaky theme, but for once I managed to sneak up, and I believe I have a completely correct grid this time around, so Victory To George – woohoo!

2013 tally:   10-3-2.  Feel free to criticize me wanting to vote over here, and see you next week when Jaques asks me to mind my grammar.


A very brief lack of appearance

Welcome back to George v the Listener crossword.  It´s the time of the year where I try to make a major disappearance.  So greetings from an internet cafe in Curitiba, Brazil, and I hope everyone has a great holiday season.

Schadenfreude instils fear into me and this was no different.  I managed to solve most of the clues, but I was struggling with most of the asterisked clues, and just could not get a grip on the theme.  It looked like some words could be made vertically across the empty squares (PUCK and the like), but nothing that could constitute a coherent theme.

I spent hours and hours bashing away at this creeping there one clue at a time, but eventually time ran out and I do no have a clue what is going on here.  We´re in a bit of a year-end slump at George v Listener, but hopefully with three (I think) more left in the year there can be a semi-surge to the finish.

Sorry, no scanned grid this week.

Victory to Schadenfreude and the Listener crossword!

2011 tally:  Listener 12, George 37.

Feel free to comment below, though I won´t be around much until the 29th, and see you next week when we break a law with Stick Insect.

How do you make a Maltese cross? Spill beer on his shirt!

Welcome back to George versus the Listener crossword, or as it’s been lately, George versus a travel schedule – I’m going to be in Asheville for the next few months, let’s see if that helps with the prompt solving schedule.  Or something like that…

Schadenfreude time!  I first encountered Schad back in the old blog with a pretty terrible failure on Terminal Suspension (though I got some of the theme), and then came within one clue on Overhead Reduction (claiming that one as a win anyway, under GvL rules).  Not too long after there was BAT which was similarly, one letter away from the checked answer.  So by the hard and fast rules I haven’t conquered Schaddy at all, though I’ve gotten the most out of two puzzles.  Let’s see how I do this time…

Removals from clues, and empty spaces! Phrase to go in them and some sort of polygon to be drawn.  Real words all over the place, sounds like a good one to have the computers at the ready for.

Except that I was on the road again and didn’t have much of an opportunity to look at those aids.  Oh well… there is a 1 across and I couldn’t make head nor tail of it, not see a convenient letter or word to be removed, so moving on…

Bit more luck with 7 across – EB,R,O and C removed.  Crossing that is ODESSA, and what Bradfords suggests could be BETEEM (so we have one gap in 8 down), extra MEM, and what I think is ENURNS (extra MOVE).  This came together in two quadrants – the bottom left and the top right fell together pretty easily, but I had a harder time with the other two opposite corners.

For once my random knowledge was a boon!  I love movies, I have spent a bit of time in projection rooms, and when I saw FILM PROJECTOR from removed letters at the end, I thought we were looking for a shape to do with a projector and that would have to be a MALTESE CROSS.  The spaces I’d found were in regular positions, and I could extrapolate those out to make the shape of a Maltese Cross.  I suspected the rest of the message was the definition of the film projector Maltese Cross in Chambers, but I was still a week away from being back home with the Big Red Book.  Reminder:  I do not have an iphone or droid or any mobile device that can carry Chambers.

However on the plane on the way back home I was pretty happy of how things were going – I had the cross in place, which helped me finish off 39 across – I was so sure CADE was going to become CADGE I’d already written a G in there. It also gave me the letter to put between SIRS and SHAMERS.

I still had a few words left to get me to a finish – I was convinced 24 was PORTS (STROP reversed) and had to get to Chambers to find out I’d made that up.   ROOTS works, and I’m pretty sure 38 is ODIOUS but I couldn’t make out the wordplay. Also needed word wizards to get ALDIS LAMP and LOGGIAS.  Now watch one of those three be wrong!

Looking back, this one is a miracle – I didn’t think I was going to get there, and many clues went through a bunch of answers – 12 across was everything from SHIVA to NUBIA until I figured the shape and knew there couldn’t be a blank there.  but here we are and I’ll keep the old fingers crossed.

my grid for Listener crossword 4098: Language Balancing by Schadenfreude

My grid for Listener 4098: Language Balancing by Schadenfreude

And with that I’ll call it a Victory for George!  I liked this one a lot, bug boost by getting the theme early.

2010 tally:  George 27, Listener 5.  Current streak:  George 4.

When you put “Language Balancing” into YouTube, a bunch of odd things come up, but this was the oddest.  I think she’s serious, and she’s got amazing graphics – I present to you – Au Pair Answer Mom!

Feel free to leave comments below, and see you next week for my first descent into (insert demonic sting music) Printer’s Devily with Pointer.