Friday, February 27, 2009
If you ever happen to be in the fun little town of Asheville, North Carolina, where I live, a visit to Asheville Pizza and Brewing is highly recommended. They brew their own beer (and have other beers available too), have cheap food, nice specialty pizzas, and their lunch buffet (which I call the Pizza Trough) is a steal. If you want to go the whole hog, join their mug club and get your own pewter mug hanging over the bar (holds more beer than their pintish glasses and costs the same to refill).
The Listener appears in these parts at 11am on Friday, making it perfect timing for printing out and enjoying a liquid/pizza lunch over. Sometimes I leave with nothing at all filled (like with Sabre last week), sometimes I leave with a few answers filled, sometimes I get distracted, meet someone I know or get into a random conversation that keeps me from getting much Listener time in at all. On the day that Raj came out, I left with an almost complete grid, the theme and one of the two things to highlight.
Which probably means I've done something wrong or rushed like in Pilcrow's puzzle last year. This was either kind of easy, or right on my wavelength or both. Llig's puzzle last year was a tribute to Ralph Vaughn Williams, and I didn't know much about the theme, but found it pretty easily. This time around I can't match the title to the puzzle, but it's a cute theme. I just noticed that Llig's was 3996, meaning that only 23 listeners have come and gone between Llig offerings - is that a recent record?
Crossword time - extra letters in wordplay. Let's hope for a lot of anagrams! Entries will be normal, so Chambers can be used as a crutch. And early on here's my juicy anagram at 10 across, anagram of SPENDING - N gives me DESIGN + P. Nice place to start, since that crosses 2 down - A,DIE,U, 4 down - SIR(i)LOIN, and an anagram clue AGARIC at 5 down. It was a pretty steady fill of the grid, without looking closely at these extra letters, I had over a half a grid in short order.
I like Llig's clues - they're quirky and very fair. Several of the extra letters made me laugh..
15 down - MAY STOP CELL leading to CYTOLPLASM + L is a surface to behold
36 across - STRAD,DHA with the extra T
30 down - ST(RR)EEL with an extra R
Near the end of my bar lunch session I had a full grid except for a few in the upper left corner (the hippy corner), and the lower right corner (Florida) - funny note is that I scanned the grid before filling in SEMEIA at 30 across, and had to change the picture using MS Paint before putting it on Flickr. From the middle set of clues the message became obvious - A PAIR OF STAR-CROSSED LOVERS, from Romeo and Juliet, and there were both JULIET and ROMEO in the grid, and running across them POLLUX and COMET, making the two Xs.
Took a little while to squeeze out the last few answers, but I was all done by Friday night, incredibly rare for me! Victory to George and we're in thoroughly unchartered territory with 6 in a row! 2009 tally: George 6, Listener 0. Current streak, George 6.
Nothing to do with this week's offering, but I noticed during the week that Dogbowl has a youtube channel. It doesn't have any of his songs from his European tour where he fed his lyrics to an online translator and sang the results unfortunately, but here's a jerky and compelling video of "Hello Helen". Feel free to comment, and see you all next week!