Friday, January 8, 2010
Give me 17 words and I will make you a grid
Another late blog... greetings from Chicago, where the opening night after-party for the Chicago Sketchfest had me out way beyond my usual bedtime, and a few friends who owed me drinks decided to cash in on the martini specials, leading to me at one point having three martinis (one Beefeater, one Sapphire and one I couldn't place, possibly Chicago bilgewater) sitting in front of me.
If you're a fan of crosswords and comedy, and can brave the snow in Chicago, some see me tonight or tomorrow night (or both) at 11pm with the Feral Chihuahuas! There will be a Listener Crossword used as a prop.
Now I have a feeling that my first page of X by Pilcrow is still sitting on my scanner back in Asheville, so I have to work kind of from memory. Last year Pilcrow gave us Tour De France which involved entering answers starting anywhere in the entry. I got the thematic stuff but made a few silly slips so didn't have a correct grid. This crossword arrived at the start of a huge blizzard that trapped me indoors for three days. So I had a lot of time to bash away at it.
But we're in again for deep-freeze solving. No clue lengths, misprints in some of the clues but not all (looks like two that do not have misprints). And there's only 17 clues for this huge grid???
The deep freeze solving session went pretty well - I got BERLIOZ, UNNOTICING, HOY, ANUROUS (found out later there was an extra O in it), SMIT, SLOUCH and ICON pretty quickly, which gave a bit of shape to the message - saw PERFECT first and then SYMMETRY. That got me a few more answers. I had a bit over half of the answers, so it was on to the grid.
OK... the grid has to exhibit perfect symmetry. That makes sense, there are 17 unique entries in the fourfold symmetry. And there's only one 3-letter and only one 10-letter word. Taking a guess that the 16-letter entry is that first answer (which I don't know), and that BERLIOZ goes in the first seven-letter slot available, then UNNOTICING (which has to go "after HOY" probably goes in as the last option for an across or the first for a down. Hmmm, but that would put a Z in the 16-letter word. And a U? Ohhh... a Z (unless you draw one with a line through the middle like I do) looks like an N lying down. And a U looks like a C. So maybe that 16-letter word starts UNC-... UNCHARACTERISTIC!!!! So there's the idea - the checking letters also look like letters when they are rotated through 90 degrees or 180 degrees. Lots of N's, S's, O's, H's... that's a neat trick.
Entering in the answers I had in sensible directions left just a few extra words to get. ZIZZING (which I think appeared in a Mephisto recently) was the last one in and made me smile a lot at the possibility that so many Z's I's an N's in a word.
The last steps were slightly headache-inducing, but that's quite a feat of grid construction. Lots of fun, Pilcrow and that was a really interesting idea. And got me through the great blizzard of late 2009.
Victory to George! With one left for 2009 the current tally is George 33, Listener 18. Current streak, George 4.
I can't do an embed, but the link below contains the not-safe-for-work video from Cell Camp that I enjoyed last night.
Feel free to leave comments, and see you next week to close out the 2009 edition of George vs the Listener Crossword with Jago.