Friday, May 1, 2009
My printer runneth dry
First off, wave bye bye to my old computer, aka "The Computer In The Cow Box". You didn't quite make it to 10, old fellow. I have a marginally newer laptop, but had to reinstall the scanner software. Eventually I got there, but the settings on scanning are oddly different, I hope the grids are viewable.
Duck. The Don. There's no secret as to the identity of Duck, you can buy his book on amazon, read bits about him on Wikipedia, and find him commenting regularly at the Crossword Centre. I don't know if he reads this, but we had an amusing back and forth on the Times for the Times site a while back about me claiming to have never heard of a Bible story. So I guessed this had to have some sort of religious theme, despite the title Office Block.
The preamble sounded kind of gentle, most clues normal, only 17 of them have extra letters. Some clashes, a lot of words get one misprint but always checked. Check. Words with extra letters in wordplay go in as normal.
Duck heard my plea to make 1 across an easy clue, and came up with GRAS(P)S. Awesome - in goes a P. LA(PP)ST gives me a first extra letter of T and we're away.
I found a lot of the clues difficult - at the end of my first sitting (didn't make it to the bar the day I printed it out, I was on the road) I had close to a half of the grid sort of filled in. Remembering some advice from earlier, I put circles around the misprints, I figured they would have something to do with the final words. I had a tough time finding the extra letters, most of the ones I had entered were the regular clues. I was guessing at where the misprints were, and starting to get a real mess of a grid, when I noticed that in the top right, I had three misprints in a diagonal and suspected that there would be a misprint where 18 met 11 (I had SNARK for 11, but didn't have CEILS for 18 yet).
Interetsing - my complete mess of a bottom left corner also had two places I thought there would be misptints in a row... all my misprints would fit on five diagonals that added up to 38 cells - AHA! I knew I had to toss this first version, so I drew the lines through the diagonals as a guide and started afresh. I wasn't sure if I had the right answers, so this time I'm going to be very careful with those misprints and correct words.
Something's not right here. LAUDS and PLINE???? What is PLINE? And where does PRLME fit in.
A trip to Chambers and things unravel... LAUDS is the morning office and one of the canonical hours. Something interesting is that my 2003 Chambers doesn't have this definition of LAUDS, but the new one does. A smart cookie like Duck probably knows things like this. Some googling later I know that they are LAUDS, PRIME, TERCE, SEXT, NONE, VESPERS and COMPLIN, but that's only 37 letters (grrr). Ahhhh - but i have PLINE, so a check of Chambers shows that COMPLIN can also be COMPLINE.
But this still doesn't fit my grid. Gah! And I have to have at least two clues wrong because my extra letters of THEANNICAURH can't make THE CANONICAL HOURS which would have 17 letters.
Time for Grid #3 - which is on garish paper since I was out of white
First problem taken care of was 6 down. Which was one of my first in (despite it being completely wrong). Initially I thought it was BOL(U)STER with an extra U, but now I see it was MO(L)ISTEN with an extra L. That also took care of 24, knowing now it had to have an extra O, so it is RENEGUER RE,(ONE,URGE).
And so I have a complete grid, my words, and a huge sigh of relief. I'm still stuck on two parts... 25 down needed to be the extra letter U, GINGLE matches the definition, but I'm still stuck on that wordplay. The wordplay to 17 should be the first C in CANONICAL, so is it just S,C,ILEX?
I thought I'd never get there, but victory to George! My first completed Duck listener, though I've done many of his puzzles in other places.
2009 tally: George 12, Listener 3. Current streak: George 1.
While working through the hours part of this, I couldn't get "Dance of the Hours" out of my head, so here it is, as performed brilliantly by Spike Jones and his City Slickers.
Feel free to comment, and see you next week for the revenge of Letters Latent!