Friday, January 2, 2009
Still some explaining to do - what did Caesar say?
Happy New Year (though not the end of last year for George v Listener, that'll come in two weeks time). This week we've got Explanation by Lato - a pretty quick turnaround for Lato, who gave us "Yes" six months ago, which I managed to scrape a finish out of despite missing something from the preamble.
There's a wish granted in the perimeter, expressed by an unclued guy in the middle (dramatically), four clues have wordplay but no definition. OK... looks like we're dealing with real words and normal clues for the most part, let's get solving.
Things were off to a pretty brisk start, though there was a lot of chambersing involved in finding the words - I got more from the wordplay than definition here, but there were some that eluded me
9) HIE,LAND - from wordplay, checked it in Chambers
10) (MATURE,U) - used the Chambers anagram solver to get TRUMEAU
12) One of my (still) unsolved... --R-RTS - was hoping to find the perimeter to get a grasp on the first letter
13) MALIC (nice easy anagram)
14) Not 100% on this, I think it's YEAH being E in HAY reversed
15) From wordplay again, anagram of RED in THINK making THE DRINK
16) DUN? Double definition?
18) I had DOE before I got this, so AGENT is DOER - checking DO-ER in Chambers shows that DOVE is a Scots word for stun
22) T in REAR reversed and D gives RETARD, which I'll be feeling like at the end of this
24) SHY (double meaning)
25) Hmmm... I have AE so I think it's AERO from definition?
28) Had -CE, I think it's ICE from the definition, can't see wordplay
29) RA,T(i)TLE - nice clue
32) A in NOH = NOAH
34) OAR (sounds like or)
35) Cute clue - PELE reversed, HAN,T
39) ARES - R in SEA reversed
41) I was relieved to find VAKAS was a word
42) STRETTI (I knew this one without having to hunt for the pretty obviously-clued anagram)
43) (l)ITERATE - another nice clue
44) I think this is one of the four without definition... BEECHAM with F for C would be BEEFHAM
1) No idea... I was thinking BIS for not once (but twice), with X, Y or Z inside, but can't come up with a solution
2) R in REAN gives RERAN
3) HARED (sounds like HARED)
4) INTRODUCTION (anagram of RUCTION,ED)
5) (p)ITCH - stations identified by their frequency?
6) FREE - FRERE without R, thanks Bradfords
7) IMARI (hidden, reversed)
8) Now I'm writing this, I'm having second thoughts - I had RAINY as IN in RAY
17) Hmmm... now this could be one of the undefined. COBALT without CO?
19) CHARACTER would work from "sign" as a definition, can't see wordplay
21) I suspect another one without definition... E in MAT
23) And this one, probably A,NUT backwards to give TUNA
24) SCOOT - another double definition courtesy Chambers
30) I saw this same clue in another crossword recently, but liked it both times - PLATO(on)
33) E in HARM gives HAREM which is also a spiritual place, apparently
37) Definition would give ANTE?
So the clues weren't that difficult, and this gave me -U--USCA-SA- for the middle, which means it should be JULIUS CAESAR (actually I got that before the A from CHARACTER or S from TENSE came in). 30 and 15 aren't defined either, but P-S- TE--- looks like it should be PAST TENSE
So what did Caesar wish for?
I've never seen the play or any of the films based on the play. I remember something about wanting ears, but looking it up, it was Antony that wanted the ears, not Caesar.
Good news! Caesar himself only appears in three scenes and doesn't have that many lines. One of them must be a wish or "hey guys, wouldn't it be great if..." stuff. I read his bloody lines five times and apart from wanting Olympus to be hoisted, he didn't as for much, and certainly not much that contained anagrams of BEEFHAM,MEAT, TUNA and possibly BALT.
Is it his dying words? ET TU BRUTE THEN FALL CAESAR? Maybe he was asking for a salad? Is it a recipe for Caesar salad, croutons, parmesan, worcester sauce and a fried egg? Nope.
Blazing away at this, even though there's no M's in it, removing the letters in BEEFHA(m),(m)EAT,TUNA,BALT leaves LETTERSCUR. Something to do with LETTERS?
Last gasp... write out the perimeter and look for something. I can make SETTERS from the extra letters, looking on the left hand side there would be room to put DUCK, HOMER, MYNOT, MR E, and then I draw a blank. Since some of those read this occasionally, I'll leave in my unfinished grid their names as my last attempt.
And stuck! Victory to Lato and the Listener Crossword and with two to go, this may well end in a tie. Current tally: Listener 23, George 25. Current streak: Listener 1
The math doesn't seem to be right here, aren't there 52 puzzles in the year? I'll go back and check later, after figuring out I missed here.