Friday, March 7, 2008
I thought it was a Nice biscuit originally
The grid weirded me out originally, I didn't know what was going on with the shape, and I thought with the crinkly corners it was one of my favorite sorts of biscuits from Australia (of course that wouldn't make any sense)
I actually got off to rather a good start on this one, after a few bashings through the clues I had the four 13-letter answers and one of the 9-letter across answers, and had figured they would have to cross each other somewhere (if you click on my grid you can see how I was checking through the letters to find the matches). I've numbered the 5 places the 13-letter answers could go. With five answers entered in less than an hour, I was sure this was going to be a major success...
A week later, I still had only 5 filled entries. I decided to take a punt and work from the longest answers that I had backwards, and promptly filled "popadum" in the wrong place (note all those letters written over each other in the bottom-left).
Next brainwave, there are only five three-letter answers, and they all seem to have letters that would be difficult to check (Z, J and Y in JAY). So I took a punt and put four of them around the three-letter spaces on the outside. Inspired by this, I put QUIP and LEAK in the bits jutting out on either end. This was when I realised that POPADUM was in the wrong spot. Steady insertion of clues, and hunting around for answers followed. SNIFFLEURS took a long time (longer because I knew where it was meant to go, but myPOPADUM was in the way).
I tried to get the theme by googling the five words I was still having difficulty placing (WEALD, WINZE, WEARY, CRAN and FLAX). It tuns out WINZE and WEARY were both in Robert Burns' poem about Halloween which would make perfect sense for a puzzle in February. However, it did convince me that WINZE and WEARY were the left-over words, and I had a grid, finally! Woohoo!
Chambers told me that both WINZE and WEARY were words for curse in Scottish. Thank you Chambers, this has got to be about MacBeth and THE SCOTTISH PLAY with all its curses was the theme and now I have to find a SPOT and erase it. Nope.
THE SCOTTISH CURSE is too many letters, but CURSE OF SCOTLAND is the correct number. A googly search tells me that the Curse of Scotland is the 9 of diamonds. It's a playing card, and if you tilt it 45 degrees the squares look like diamonds. And there's only 9 D's and they are correctly arranged. Yessssssss!
Took me a while, but we're there. Call this one a victory for George, a streak of 2.
Tally: George 4, Listener 3.