No chaps, no stick, no luck!

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword.  Well my last month or so of hell is over, and unfortunately things did not resolve themselves as I hoped. So back to a number of drawing boards.

I hope there is no video evidence, but I fell trying to get on stage two weeks ago. Outdoor wet stage, so minimal damage.

And just to cap off a stellar couple of weeks, I poured coffee in my laptop and fried it while I was traveling.  I had scanned Listeners 4478 and 4479 so I could get caught up, but laptopless is not helping.  I am writing this on my work laptop.  Since I didn’t get a promotion this year, I’m stealing the work laptop and using it for non-work purposes. Take that state of North Carolina.  Nyah nyah!

On top of all of this came the Tangram Listener.  Now I’ve generally had pretty good luck with Tangram, and the preamble made it sound like at the end there was going to be more grid-starting, though at least this time signaled by something.

Well, as has been the habit lately, I got quite a long way into the solving process, particularly the bottom, but one problem that I have when there is multiples types of clues is keeping track of everything and I was having real trouble keeping track of everything here. My misprints/missing letters were not making much sense at all, with only LINE at the end looking like a real word.  Although I got a few breaks to look at this, it ended up being a mighty victory for Tangram and the Listener Crossword.

My working grid for Listener 4478, Chapstick by Tangram

It has been over a week, and I see it was a poem about cricket. I’ve been a cricket fan since the late 70s, but oh boy do STEEL and ELGAR seem a bit obscure, even though they ended up symmetrical!

Game over, 20% completion.

Feel free to tell me better luck next week (or in an hour or so) when Salamanca puts a prandial in the post



I have a rendezvous with Playfair next week… but for now, something completely different

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword – a little late in posting this week, ended up having a surprise guest over so my “usual” routine was thrown off.  Plus the increasing amount of time I have to devote to Pokemon Go is eating into crossword blogging.

Tangram! This is the third Tangram puzzle, and all three have been Letters Latent (I wonder if that means tangram is a Letters Latent pseudonym, maybe for Stan Grasms?  Anyhoo, the Latent Lettters are pointing us at a poem, and there’s one row that is both Letters Latent and modified.  That’s a new one! Let’s get solving!

There is a 1 across and I’ve been doing Listeners long enough to think OS when I see “opening” so ST,CH,OS is there for STICHOS missing I and we are away – big pass on the 1 across test.

This was a pretty smooth solve – the clues were fun and concise (I was rather taken by “Changes sign” for VARIES with a latent V.  I was having less luck with the message, certainly got the I HAVE and THAT SOME, which doesn’t eliminate a lot of poems.  It was the end of the message – SEEGER to me only means the crooner Bob, but a check of poets named SEEGER brings up ALAN SEEGER, and I HAVE A (rendezvous) WITH DEATH AT SOME DISPUTED (barricade), and the anagram of SHADOW(shade) and the reversed BRINE-PIT(spring) fill up one row.

My working grid for Listener 4405, Revision by Tangram

That was short and sweet!  I did not know the poet nor the poem, and it is rather a nice one (apparently JFK was a fan), so thanks for alerting me to it, Tangram.

So sorry for the late post, and I think I can call this one a Victory to George.  2016 tally 23-2-2

Feel free to tell me that Alan Seeger should have been on the citizenship test, and see you next week when. Shakespeare gets to roll over in his 400-year old grave by being commemorated by two playfairs.


By the door of the silvery moon…

Welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword, today coming to you from Washington DC.  Unfortunately before I left I forgot to scan my grid.  So if you’re a fan of looking at cryptic scribble, you’ll have to wait until next week.

Tangram time!  We had a Tangram Listener last year with a Shelley theme, and it was a struggle but I got there. Let’s see what we’ve got here – Letters Latent again!  Wordplay is the LL version, and there’s a message that helps us complete the centre cell – in a homologous fashion?  Time for that chemistry degree to come into play – homologous means not the same, but formed in the same way.

Well away we go – there is a 1 across, but nothing came to mind. Actually nothing came to mind until CATCHINESS – giving an extra H and somewhere to get started with.  It crosses five down entries, you’d think I’d have to get one of those, right?  Think again – no luck with any of the crossers and it was back to the cold-solving drawing board.

Finally started to build up the grid in Florida corner, with UNHEARSING, TREENAIL and REGIN getting me going.

This wound to a close pretty quickly – I was dead stuck with only a dozen or so entries, mostly clustered in the bottom right.  This was a war of attrition – a few times a day I’d come back to a clue or two to try and piece together something.  I was not on Tangram’s wavelength at all for these clues.

Eventually I could piece together -OONLI-D-OR and a search on MOONLIT DOOR shows a poem called “The Listeners” – which sounds very promising.  At the start the message could be WHICH POEM – but the middle of the message is escaping me.

I was starting to get nervous as I got close to the weekend and still had a bunch of gaps in the grid and in the message…

First mini-breakthrough was realising 14 was PUNGA(INLY) and not some form of PONGA – that got me EMPUS as 1 down and suggested FEATURED as one of the middle words in the message.  Still a mess in the middle of the message, but I’m getting closer.

It wasn’t until getting CENTURY that I figured the clues were deliberately obscure to get snooker references in.  I figured the crossword wouldn’t have anything to do with snooker, but didn’t realise the clues did.  Finally – DEFFLY later, I have a full grid!  I can see THE ISTENERS in one column, so that means an L goes into the centre cell showing that the title is an L away from CLUEMASTERS.  Last thing to find was the end of the message – ahhh – it’s AGED 100.  Might have solved this easier if I’d spotted that, and “The Listeners” is from 1912.

This wasn’t in the mail until Tuesday a week after it came out, so I hope I made the deadline.  A mighty struggle, but I think I’ve got it all so I’ll claim this a Victory to George (I’ll check the solution later on Friday).

2012 tally (tentative) 14-0-2

In lieu of a scan – today I went to the Old Post Office Tower in Washtington DC.  There’s a set of bells in there that are the constitutional bells, apparently made by the same outfit as the Westerminster Abbey bells.  At the top of them is a guide, telling people how bell changes work – couldn’t resist snapping a picture – now just watch this being karma coming to bite me on the bum and there’ll be a bell changing puzzle soon!

Feel free to ring my bells and see you next week when Dysart teases us with prizes galore!

Shelley? Just a small one, medium dry.

Welcome back to George vs the Listener, and for a change I’m back at home and have a half an hour free to finish up this little thingy and be on timish.  This week we have a new setter (or newdonym) in Tangram.  Hi Tangram, if you’re looking in.  Well just so that everyone can have a complain about clue types they don’t like, we’ve got misprints (definition), misprints (wordplay) and letters latent!  Though the Letters Latent are easy to spot (at least if you can count, since even after going through it three times looking for the 12 letters latent ones I didn’t spot 13 down).  Two answers need modification, but it looks like this means that every answer in the grid is going to be a real word or a real word with one misprint.  So yay for that Word Solver thing that does misprints!

I didn’t get to start this until I was in California, so the first solving session was accompanied by some very delicious cali-mexi style chicken and churros.  If I lived there I would be about 85% churro.

There is a 1 across, and it nearly proved to be my downfall, because I rather confidently wrote in LANDGRAVINE with a misprinted E in the wordplay, making the first letter of my useful quote L.  That seemed OK at the time, as it fitted with ESTH, D(R)ONE, RO(A,RE)D and the letters latent AITERS so I was pretty happy with my utterly wrong start.

The grid turned out to be of the type where one starts at the top and then again at the bottom and hope they meet at the middle.  Sort of.  TWELVEMONTH with a misprinted N popped out quite nicely, and fit with LEE,TLE, the normal clue SERRATE and letters latent MISSAPE.  But Not so well with 27 down which I was pretty sure was L(O,C,A)L or with 23 which I couldn’t figure out at all.

Completely stuck on a half-full grid it’s time to turn to what clues I have solved to see if I can get a message.  Oh, and an author!  SH-LL–.  Now an astute person would have jumped right on one of the SHELLEYs but I was utterly convinced that this was Joseph HELLER (because I don’t think I’ve seen a Heller based crossword) and went poring through the intertubes for connections to catch-22, and my other spotty parts of the message:  LIN-E-IS–MEA–GONE-UTWI–T–.

This is not looking good.  Wonder if it’s not HELLER. SH-LL… oh bloody hell it is one of the SHELLEYS.  But that’s not going to help me at all… if that’s an E, then 23 is INTRIM and…

TWELVEMONTH has to be reversed!  That takes care of LOCAL (but kills SERRATE… no it doesn’t, I reverse it with the misprint intact.

Shelley, twelvemonth in reverse.  Let’s look up Shelley quotes about years… and there it is… WINTER IS COME AND GONE BUT GRIEF RETURNS WITH THE REVOLVING YEAR.

So 1 across is wrong! Re-thiking 2 down and getting LA(TRIM)NE and hunting to find a new 1 across and we have WALDGRAVINE and that W at the start of the clue.  TWELVEMONTH is reversed, TENT is reversed and we are home and hosed.

Ummm… except that there’s about 6 empty squares over there on the right hand side.  Including 13 down, which I still hadn’t figured out was Letters Latent, but now new it had something to do with H.

A bit more poking and prodding and I think I have a correct grid… not 475% on LAMER for 20 across (more strikingly crocked?) but if my counting is correct (man am I making a bunch of assumptions), I was left with that needing to be a misprint in definition clue, and that’s the only word that would work.

My original grid for Listener Crossword 4129, Letters Lament by Tangram

original sort of conufused grid

There’s the first effort, let’s clean it up a little.

My final grid for Listener Crossword 4129, Letters Lament by Tangram

It’s not TWELVEMONTH that gets reversed, it’s TWELVEMOETH

And I think I’ve got it.  Going to call this one a Victory to George.  Thanks Tangram, I suspect those more up on their verse would have found this a lot harder, but I found it tough until twigging the quote.

The ship is slowly righting!  2011 tally:  George 9, Listener 3.  Current streak, George 4.

Feel free to leave comments below and see you next week to see if I get rattled by Augeas.  And I have to finish with the scene with the line from the title (whoever uploaded this put an annoying musical sting at the start, so just ignore the first 5 seconds or so).