Friday, November 6, 2009
Get the flock outta here
Loda is making a second appearance for the year, after the appropriately-titled "In Clue Order On and On" (and on and on and on...) which I finished, but it took a mammoth effort. Let's see what ROC brings - all but fifteen clues have misprints in the definition, quotation and speaker, and fifteen entries need something thematic cut out of them. All sounds innocent enough, most of the words in the grid are going to be real words.
The 1 across test is interesting this time out - anagram of IT,S,D,MEN,ARE,INTENSE - that's INDETERMINATENESS and since the grid is 13x13, four letters have to come out. Can't see four letters that would come out and leave a real word. Can't figure all the wordplay in 9 straight away, but with IE, R, and Y being a part of it, then OSIERY is tempting and WILLOW IN THIS is the definition misprint. It looks even better when 1 down is I,OD(IS)E - chemistry clue! DOSE with something elemental, 2 down is DICHTS (IAN'S WIPES), 3 is TRAUMA (U in A MART reversed) and 4 is EY(e),RA (BEAST FROM THE FOREST). So the first half of INDETERMINATENESS is looking good...
If something thematic has to be removed, could it be MINA? or NATE? MINA would fit the title of the puzzle.
So the MINA seemed to be a good idea gwn HAWKEYED appeared at 22. I had the Y from ELEGY, and 8 down was SLENDERNESS (which has ERNE in it). So I think there's some aviacide going on here.
By the end of one rather long sitting (stuck home on a really miserable night), I had a pretty good-looking grid, more than half full, some ideas of birds to be removed, one mistake to be rectified later (JACKSAUCES instead of JACKSLAVES), and a quote that looked like
I - E - - - - THE BIRDS ARE - L O - - K - N - CH - R - E -
In the second sitting I decieded to tackle the quotation to see if I could get the missing wordplays. Googe "the birds are" + charles and there we are - I SEE ALL THE BIRDS ARE FLOWN: KING CHARLES I
I like having the phrase and knowing the misprints are in the definition! The ones that still took a while to find even with this were...
44 across - I thought ANGY might go to ANDY, and I hope ANDY IRVINE is a fan of the Listener, because I'd never heard of him.
30 down - got HEREIN from the definition (SHOWN BY THIS PAPER) and a word search, still don't see the wordplay - RE in HEIN?
24 down - AG GRO(t) from wordplay, didn't know this to mean SNAGS (would have been fun if the answer meant sausages)
10 across - needed that S to see RISE IN DISGUST to be REVOLT
OK - so there's birds removed from the answers and five more curved lines (presumably birds) to be found. 32 across is OOSE, and there's a G near those O's, but if I follow the other two Os I can make GOOSE in a V-shape (either one bird drawn like a V or a phalanx of birds). Looks good, because there's RAVEN across from it, EGRET above the RAVEN, ARIEL in the middle, and SCRAY, which according to Chambers can be a bird, in the top right. I don't think there'd be five phalanxes, so let's just draw some curvy birdies. Here we go...
OK, my bottom right bird looks even more stupid.
That was a lot of fun, I like getting phrases and themes early, helps with the hunt-and-peck (or hunt and de-peck in this case). I'm calling this one a victory for George!
2009 tally: George 26, Listener 16 (one more to tie my record from last year!). Current streak: George 4!
I think last time there was a bird theme I put "Excellent Birds" by Laurie Anderson here. But there's a show I'm going to on Wednesday that I am very excited - Peaches, with the opening act MEN. MEN is half of Le Tigre who were truly weird. Here's "Well, Well, Well" by Le Tigre.
If you are reading and happen to be in Asheville North Carolina this weekend I'll be hosting "The Love Game" at Asheville Brewing Company on Coxe Avenue on Saturday. Feel free to leave comments below, and see you next week for a look inside Hypnos.