Friday, April 17, 2009
ring e he ead f ohn he aptist
Quick post-script to last week, I did make a mess of it, but I honestly couldn't unravel a lot of those clues and once the answer was up, I did my usual routine of getting an answer at a time to see if I could have figured it out. I hadn't heard of the book nor the author (note to setters, the George challenge - the first setter to work in a Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, Terry Pratchett or Robert Rankin theme wins me doing a video version of this blog declaring you awesome).
Oh, video blogs - I'm meant to start making them for a comedy project, so once I get the hang of them, I might add some vocality to this nonsense. George versus the Listener breaking all boundaries.
Now to this week - Centigram is back! And there's some more jumbles, down answers have missing words, 25 needs to be removed and replaced by some new words and there's two mystery squares. All tied in to a performance.
I started by hitting the downs - I read somewhere recently (was it Times for the Times) that you should start crosswords in the bottom right hand corner, also known as Florida, because by that point the setter has lost inspiration. In this case it seemed like a sensible place to start because that's where the performance lies, so I started with 41 down and worked myself up.
41: looked like it was going to be OCA or COC - Chambers confirms the first, so we have an E at the end of the performance
39: I in O,D,N and we've got our God and Cretan as the extra word
37: E,PIC and New is the extra word... with NCE confirmed I think we're headed to a dance
34: Let's test that logic out... remove appoints... LOCUM? LUM is a hat and it's back-patting time.
32: Well assuming I remove the DO.... ----NG? Actually this was one of the last in.
Certainly looks like dance, maybe RIVERDANCE (Michael Flatulence only has two names though), or TAP DANCE (KELLEY, ASTAIRE, DAVIS JR?). Thinking this would be a breeze since I'm looking for dancers and had cold-solved four of five turned out to be false hope, the rest of the cold solving only gave me another 10 or so of the down clues, and with B-OT-E-S it looked like there was going to be BROTHERS in the middle. I don't know any dancing brothers, and Google turns up some unlikely candidates.
So it was time to bite the bullet, stop trying to solve this entirely on the downs and get stuck into acrosses. My printed sheets are a mess, because I put the letters I thought I knew next to the clues.
I got off to a so-so start on the acrosses - I got 1 (T,ACTLESS), but was convinved 7 was SCRAP (since I had REVEL and POTATO), so it kept me from seeing IMPS and ENTICE that I should have gotten on the first go around.
So it was solve acrosses, back to downs, solve acrosses, back to downs... you can see from my grid that I put the letters I didn't know from the acrosses in (that worked out pretty well for me in Squaring the Circle and Au Contraire).
The penny drop moment was rather fun though - it was getting 2 down - CANNACH that I finally had HERO-(M or S)BROTHERS - and realise it was HEROD'S BROTHER'S and the last word had to be DAUGHTER.
I had S-LO-E in that second row with the closed-off square, so in went SALOME, allowing me to get M(EL)ONS (EL for O in MOONS), convince myself that 10 really was ENT,ICE and that SCRAP was wrong (I must have been firing on zero cylinders, because it took entering PIRE + 1 letter into Quinapius to see TRIPE).
25 was THE SEVEN VEILS (heh, they did get removed), which helped me get VENTOSE (how did I not spot an anagram?), VASE and TEETER.
So the conclusion would be off coming the head of John the Baptist, into the bucket made by the other square. That would give me all real words across the middle and a fun conclusion!
Except that there were a bunch of empty squares in Florida!!!
I didn't have an entry at 28 (though now I knew it had to be a real word starting with L or S), an entry at 32 across OR down, and though I knew 40 was CONNIPTION, 45 was STRANGER and 35 RUNNER, still didn't know where those last letters fit.
Took an extra hour of dictionary hunt and pecking to find that LANDERS worked as a double definition (kinda) at 28. I was concerned I was going to have everything here but a few leftover words, but in the end I was there - a very fun and topical crossword by Centigram. I didn't notice until the end that the jumbles were made a little easier by multiple unchecked letters being the same letter (the three N's in CONNIPTION).
Seasonal victory to George! And in a bizarre coincidence (there seem to be more of those popping up lately), I went to a performance of Godspell in the time that I was working on this crossword. So here's some 70s hippy awesomeness from the film of Godspell - "By My Side".
2009 tally: George 11, Listener 2. Current streak: George 1
Feel free to leave comments (in response to recent message, you can do that by clicking on where it says "n comments", and see you next week for an indication of height!