Friday, December 25, 2009
In which we learn some geography
It is a cold Christmas morning in Western North Carolina as I type this - I was snowed in for a few days over last weekend (I put my last post up here just before it started to get seriously snowy), and the snow still hasn't melted. Today it's been replaced by a bit of freezing rain just to mix things up. There are things to be thankful for, I keep hearing from friends that they are losing power, or even worse, losing internet. Australia will start playing Pakistan in about seven hours so I'll eat, drink, be merry and imagine the warmth that is Melbourne on Boxing Day.
So I hope readers of George v the Listener have a good one! I've got a few odd things planned for next year, I've been working on getting some crosswords of my own published (you'd be surprised what and where), and I'll be putting some original work up on this page. Not sure if there'll be prizes, I can drunk dial you and leave a rude message on your answering machine or something.
And now to this week's challenge - Resident by Hotspur. I had a bit of luck earlier in the year with "At Arm's Length", and it looks like Hotspur is catching up for his long absence by throwing in the puzzles quick and fast. There's an interesting preamble here, the misprints lead to a rhyming couplet to get the clue, 12 clashes and two "neighbours" to find.
Good news! All real words in the grid, except for some clashes, woohoo. I love me some real wordage.
At the bar solving session to begin with, I could not see 1 across straight away (I felt silly later when I realised it was (B)awls and the misprint was tooLs. But 4 across yielded an interesting problem - I could see the answer was RHOMBOIDAL from an anagram of HOMALOID and BR, but then is the misprint OF, IN, IT? Grrr.... Similar dilemma with the third one, the answer has got to be OIK (unless there's a misprint in YORICK'S), but what do I do to SAD? SOD? GAD? BAD? At least I'm getting entries...
I got a satisfactory distance in the first solving session - the misprint of OIK and TAGS gave me a very sneaking suspicion that those 12 letters were going to be along the main diagonal, confirmed by the intersection of SCORIA and RESETS (actually I had it in as REESTS originally because I am a thickhead).
A restart with Bradfords helped a lot - hat tip to Hotspur for some really amusing clues with even more amusing misprints - HOOKER - OK with a misprint of TART was brilliant, as was NO ONE,R with the misprint of RUN made me laugh.
It seemed every time I got well and truly stuck, a fresh start with Chambers and Bradfords got me another word or two and I was off again. It was the left side more than the right, though I did a lot of it to myself by misspelling LIVRAISON as LIVRASION, keeping me from getting DEIGNS). I also found the down misprints more accessible than the across ones, eventually piecing together TRAINS WITH OTHER TRAINS COLLIDE. I never did get the complete rhyming couplet for the first half.
Piecing together that message down the middle, RIVER stuck out rather nicely as a last work possibility, and OVER THE RIVER emerged, leaving me TRAN-NISTRA (because I hadn't gotten DEIGNS yet). A google of TRANSNISTRIA shows that it is a disputed territory and most importantly the wikipedia article shows this map
And looky there - I can see UKRAINE to the upper right! This sorts out my problems with the bottom right, where already have -OL-OVA and finishes me off with MOLIMENS (MEN in MOL,IS) and SIZED (after finding SIZE=SICE=number on a die).
I've compressed a LOT of time into this! This was one I picked up and did little by little and it took me nearly all the time allocated but I finally have a solution. Never heard of the place, but it's a very interesting theme and a well done crossword. I didn't think I was going to get there for the longest time with that bottom left corner looking spare for a while.
So victory to George! 2009 tally: George 31, Listener 18. Current streak: George 1
This one is definitely not safe for work - the best Christmas song written in the last 10 years...
Feel free to leave comments below, and see you next week for variations of metricality with Hedge-Sparrow.
I wonder if the new Listener is available today on the Crossword Club? Just checked, it is! Woohooo!