Friday, July 31, 2009
Another in the line of Listeners I was working on while I was out of town, this one was started in an airport. I like the shape of the grid - Charybdis must be into crazy grids, I got nowhere on "Wot No Lines", but it also turns out that Charybdis was one half of Harpy who had an interesting-looking grid that turned into a map of Venice in "Hard Rectangle" last year.
Preamble seems gentle enough - extra words in each clue, middle letters (there's a new one), make a quotation. There's a lot of clues, that is going to have to be one long quotation! Then some unclued thematic entries, highlighting at the end, an answer needs to be modified (maybe a letter goes on the inside?) and we're done. Perfect for a plane - looks like the grid is all real words with one to be modified later and the clues are mostly normal.
I drew little arrows to find the unclued entries. The cross each other! Hopefully this won't be too bad.
The clues were fun - I didn't get any of the first few on a quick read through, until ARM inside A LIST gave me 11 across. But it was the left hand side of the grid that filled fastest. Charybdis chose some obvious and some tricky extra words to hide the message, and I was surprised by the number of even-lettered extra words (my original thought was to look for words with an odd number of letters. The clues also had a sensible surface when the extra word was removed (8 down might be a stress, but with this many clues, that's pretty cool). The drawback of this was that a lot of the extra words were at the start or finish of clues, or extra adverbs or adjectives, which made them easier to find. Hey, look at me, I'm commenting on construction!
By the time I got back home from my long trip, I had all the left hand side, most of the top and bottom, and what turned out to be some horribly wrong answers in the right. Most egregious was being convinced 12 down was TULADI, which is a word I made up that didn't fit the clue or wordplay, and 24 was RIDE which fit the wordplay but not the definition. I had the quotation - THE DISCOVERY OF A NEW DISH CONFERS MORE HAPPINESS ON HUMANITY THAN THE DISCOVERY OF A NEW STAR, but didn't know who said it. My friend Steven picked me up from the airport and I told him about how far I'd gotten on the Listener, and he looked it up on his blackberry (first time that mastubatory aid has been useful) and said it was some guy "Brillat something".
Brillat-Savarin! I remember him from the opening of the English version of "Iron Chef" (where they use - "Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are".
Finally home and with Chambers and the interweebs at my disposal, the rest of the theme comes together. Savarin cheese is a cheese with a hole in the middle, and a savarin cake is a cake with a hole in the middle with yeast, nuts, and booze inside. YUM! Now I want one!
In goes BRILLAT SAVARIN, and the rest of the unclued entries are things that would go in a savarin cake - ALMONDS, TAFIA (needed to look that up), WALNUT, CHERRY, PEACH, and BACARDI. Just a little Chambers hunt-and-pecking to get my last few answers (TRONCS, TAIGLE) and we have a completed grid! Now to that preamble - I'd spotted I at the end of POOR and thought that might have something to do with it (a dish, a dish!), and right near it is ASTRONOMY with G next to it, so I don't have to modify any entries, it's there in the grid. GASTRONOMY crosses RIGEL diagonally, and the R,I,E,L in RIGEL cross dishes - CHARGE+R,POOR+I, REGAL+E (thanks, Chambers), and BOW+L (RAKU+BOW+L?).
Thanks for making a few hours in D.C. National Airport, Charlotte Douglas Airport and two plane flights a lot more fun than they should have been, Charybdis! Can't wait for the next crazy grid.
With that I'll claim victory for George!
2009 tally: George 19, Listener 9. Current streak: George 1.
I'm very excited about Leonard Cohen doing a concert in my town in November. Leonard Cohen is awesome music to put on right when it's time for everyone to leave your apartment. Here's "Waiting for the Miracle"
Feel free to leave comments, and see you next week for floral fun with Dipper!