Friday, November 13, 2009
In which Bradford's gets a thorough workout!
It's the end of the week, so it's time again to check in with the battles against the barred-grid. This week it's Hypnos who is a new setter or a new pseudonym, and a rather long preamble. We've got eight thematics, clued in an odd way, across clues are normal, down clues give extra letters in wordplay, and there's some highlighting and words that aren't in the grid to add in. Okeydoke - sounds like a good place to start is with those normal acrosses.
No chance on the 1 across test, it's a thematic one. But we have luck on 6 across - L(IMP)ET, and that gets me going with 8 down being P,S,I (and an extra S) and 7 down being IDEA,LLY with extra I. A first crack at solving and actually the down clues weren't too bad, I got more of the down clues than the across clues, and at the end of the first solve, I had a grid that looked pretty flush at the top, a little light on at the bottom, and my extra letters were GRIDISG--ENSTIR--HOLE.
Speaking of the HOLE at the end of the message, I managed to dig myself a pretty substantial one with those "Alternative" and "Associative"
(damn, I'm out of time for right now - if you've checked in early, enjoy the grid and the tale so far, I'll be back to update later, but I think I've cracked this one).
A disjointed blog is still a blog, right? I'm kind of pressed for time, so let's cut to the chase...
Stumbling point #1: Even though the answers were practically staring myself in the face, I thought that the grid entries WERE the alternatives and associatives. So it looked like COCKTAIL should go in at 1 across and CAPSULE at 2 down. Well I'd solved one of the alternatives to be TANKARD and figured that COCKTAIL as a glass would be the alternative to TANKARD, and that CAPSULE probably foes with that associative that says PILL. But then again, there's something that looks like it should be RIVET at 36 across, and the first "alternative clue" answer would be RIVET, but aren't I meant to put an alternative answer in there?
Could you believe I went two days before convincing myself that these answers really did go in there, and that got me all eight of the alternative/associatives in a flash. Putting those in helped me finish the downs to give the message GRID IS GIVEN STIR ?N HOLE - surely IN HOLE, which would be wordplay for PORRIDGE, which would fit the title. I didn't really see the wordplay for 30 down, but Chambers supports a STOCK as a nosy boss, and 22 has to be ALA,SKA and we have a grid.
Looking up PORRIDGE in Chambers, there's BROSE, and rather helpfully, turning the page for the rest of the possibilities for PORRIDGE there's THIBLE under "PORRIDGE-STICK". Highlighting done! Now to the example and the item... I'll admit, I should have gotten these earlier - I knew that the first Alternative was the one that had to lead to the thematic (looking up RIVET in Chambers, and there's CLINK!), but which letter got removed from that last associative clue? So to Word Matcher with the letters I knew - let's find a 7 letter word containing UPSNAA - SPANDAU - and it's WEIR that we needed from the associative.
This was an 11th hour, 11th minute and 58th second solve - I was worried that I'd get as far as the theme word and not be able to see the rest of it. I am a little frustrated that I never sorted out all the alternatives and associatives... I have
PRIVET - CLINK
TANKARD - POT
VEHICLE - ???
COCKTAIL - ???
Only sure of the last one...
Despite all this, I'm pretty sure I've got what was needed, and I'm calling this a victory for George! Good challenge, Hypnos, that was a slammer of a puzzle.
2009 Tally: George 27, Listener 16 (last year's record is tied!). Current streak, George 5!!!
OK - how can I resist this clip of the late, great Ronnie Barker doing a crossword in "Porridge" (if only Hypnos had worked RILK in there)
Feel free to leave comments below, and see you next week for a whirly of a birly with Sabre.