Friday, June 26, 2009
It was Abe Lincoln's birthday too!
Hedge-sparrow may be a person of science - last were we had warpholes, and this time around there's a very short-titled Listener - S. Preamble is a bit of a slog, extra letters in lots of the wordplay, something different for acrosses and downs. Thematic entering of four clues, and a name to be replaced later.
Since 1 across is unclued, I started with the downs. [T]EN,LARD at 1 down and I'm off - couldn't see 2, got ON[E],I(c)ON for 3 (T and E for extra letters, so probably an H as extra letter in 2), nice clue for 4 down - LO,MOVING, then move the M to get LOOMING and an extra V. SAP,O,TA(p) for 5, and BO(TT)LE for 6 and the gears are grinding... I've got E-OL----- for 1 across, and EVOLUTION is so tempting. There's a T in SAPOTA and an O in BOTTLE. That 6-letter name at 18 down could be DARWIN...
I'll confess - I felt I was on to something, and wrote in EVOLUTION and DARWIN and then looked for confirmation from the across words crossing DARWIN.
Couldn't get 18 across. 20 across - another nice clue for BAA[L]TH(e)ISTS. 24 - A[F]ORT(night)IC, 27 across GR[R]OWTH and 32 across somethingSMIT[E]H and DARWIN is looking like a good bet.
So I was feeling pretty smug with myself about having cracked this straight away, instincts being right, but there's a lot of grid to fill, and apart from the words clustered around DARWIN and EVOLUTION I was going nowhere fast. And I have 10 clashes to find, but in my first run through I could only find two (VIA crossing LEI) and CONDEMN crossing SAG.
Anything in the extra letters? Seeing FI-TE-T near the end of the across clues made me take a punt on SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST (looking at my notes, the I got that from -UR---AL--T-EFI-TE-T) - so maybe the clashes leave the letters from THE FITTEST, that would make sense. Just got to find 8 of them. Knowing the extra letters I can scrape together most of the across clues. How about those downs? Extra letter wise I have THEV---G------ (yes, I did badly on those down clues originally, got the four thematic ones, which I guess are jumbles, but the rest were a lot of blanks). THE V... 13 across is EAGLE, wonder if it's THE VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE and the B from BOTTLE goes in there?
And I'm off again with a few more down solutions.
In the end, I think I've gotten everything, and although it is a really nice puzzle, it gave me headaches forever. I saw everything thematic before I got close to the finish - though I ended up using it all to get the last couple of clues in. Seeing APE changing to MAN through single-letter substiutions down the middle helped me get DESTINE at 18 across. In the very very end, I was stuck with looking for words that fit the clashes - my last few clues solved - TEETH, G[O]AL,L, and AR,K accounted for 6 of the clashes! Maybe they make a map of the Galapagos?
My grid looked like a complete mess at the end of it all, so here's a final grid - I think apart from where DARWIN is erased, it's all real words.
So I'm going to claim a plodding, clumsy yet satisfying victory for George! The thematic stuff is impressive, Hedge-Sparrow (and if you are a regular reader, you'll notice I left Darwin off the list of notable anniversaries this year since I'd seen this puzzle).
2009 tally: George 16, Listener 7. Current streak: George 2
Since there was Evolution here, I wanted to put some DEVOlution up, but they are heavily policing their songs on youtube. But as I was browsing YouTube I noticed that one of my favorites, Cassetteboy have tried a video, so here's Cassetteboy vs The Apprentice
Feel free to comment using the link below, and see you next week for some Playtime.