Crossword News July 2019

Crossword News July 2019

The June Prize Puzzle was Evergreen by Flowerman. The theme was the coniferous plant family Araucariaceae. This family name can be identified in the completed grid by reading diagonally from the top left corner. Three thematic items are extant representative species, Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis), Kauri (eg, Agathis australis) and Monkey Puzzle (Araucaria araucana), while the fourth item is Whitby jet, a variety of lignite that can be polished to make a gemstone. This lignite, mined near Whitby, is considered to have formed from the wood of a member of the Araucariaceae.

Representing the “monkey” of Monkey Puzzle are the New World monkeys, mico and titi.

Here are some of the comments from solvers.

We thought this was a lovely puzzle and I was astounded to learn of the origin of my granny’s treasured jewels (she had strings of Whitby Jet beads that she always wore – I was four when she died over 70 years ago and that jet is almost my dominant memory of her).  There was so much to admire in this puzzle (though we had to back-solve to find the WHITBY and READ AROUND MARGIN – that is usually the case for us with such devices). I particularly appreciate the directness of the definitions in Flowerman’s clues. When one has solved the wordplay, the definition is always sufficiently close to what appears in Chambers. Many thanks.

The preamble was daunting but I learned long that sometimes it is better not to dwell on such things but just plough on and solve a few clues.  Quite a challenge it was too.  Many crossword solvers are familiar with araucaria but this particular one had never heard of Whitby jet, let alone its connection with the former.  So quite educational as well as proving to be a stiff challenge.  For me there was too much in the endgame that was just word searching but it was nonetheless an excellent puzzle.  Thank you Flowerman.

I starting working out the highlighting backwards because I first noticed the main diagonal could be ARAUCARIACEAE and then saw PUZZLE at 30d and knew that 23a was a monkey. Only at the end I noticed that if the highlighting is done in the order given by the preamble then when 30d is to be highlighted it is the only entry on the margin that is not involved in any of the previous highlighting. I suppose ‘Cinephile’ in 30d was included because it was the setter Araucaria’s other pseudonym (and an anagram of Chile pine).  I originally thought 38a was a normal clue using are=’RE but I quickly realised that the A could be an extra letter.

There were 35 entries, of which 5 were marked incorrect. The lucky winner was Dale Johannesen, who will soon be receiving a prize of Chambers Complete Crossword Lists which was donated by Chambers.

A full explanation and solution is available at https://wp.me/p7qTXm-cd

In June we also had a special, Last Word by Chalicea, which was hastily published after Liverpool made it to the final of the Champions League. The theme was the lyrics of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, the Rodgers and Hammerstein song from Carousel, which became the theme song of Liverpool FC after it was recorded by local group Gerry and the Pacemakers. The grid evoked the second half of the anthem sung at Anfield. WALK ON was ‘through’ THE WIND and THE RAIN. THOUGH YOUR DREAMS BE TOSSED AND BLOWN went round the perimeter…. HOPE appeared in YOUR HEART … and YOU’LL NEVER WALK (in the perimeter) required the last word ALONE.

Here are some of the comments from solvers.

This was a pleasant and enjoyable puzzle.  The clues were not too difficult but the unclued  words did not come readily to mind.  It was not until every clue was solved that the penny dropped.  The cryptic representation was clever.  Thank you Chalicea for an enjoyable puzzle.

This was a pleasant and enjoyable puzzle.  The clues were not too difficult but the unclued  words did not come readily to mind.  It was not until every clue was solved that the penny dropped.  The cryptic representation was clever.  Thank you Chalicea for an enjoyable puzzle.

Shirley’s puzzle attached – not a great theme for an Everton fan!!

There were 39 entries of which 4 were marked incorrect. The lucky winner was Andie Johnson who will be receiving a prize book donated by the Crossword Centre.

A full solution is available at https://wp.me/p7qTXm-cf

The August Prize Puzzle will be Food Chain by one of our regular setters, Chalicea.

Chalicea is a prolific setter of crosswords, setting relatively gentle crosswords, often with graphic themes, individually and as part of teams under a dozen or so pseudonyms (Chalicea and Curmudgeon are the main ones). She appears in the Listener, the Magpie, the EV, the IQ, 1 Across, Crossword Club, the Cross Numbers Quarterly, the NTSPP on Big Dave’s site, the Telegraph Toughie series (the fluffier Tuesday one), on Derek’s site of course, and has been part of Eric Westbrook’s 3D Calendar team from its launching as one of the monthly setters and with husband Charles as the clue judge. As a farmer’s daughter (Dad became a poultry farmer on his retirement) she sets the weekly cryptic crossword in the Farmers Guardian – great fun though it can be difficult after six years of setting those, to find a new, imaginative way of cluing BADGER CULL, ABATTOIR or OILSEED RAPE.

She is a retired language teacher (English and French) and is still a qualified Swiss ski instructor and has worked in the past in Switzerland, Norway, France (as head of the International Section of a French lycée), in Italy, Liechtenstein, Australia and New Zealand (ski instructing) and as a cook, chambermaid, travel guide and mountain guide (in Norway and the Lake District).

Languages are one of her loves and she speaks three or four well and has a working knowledge or a meagre smattering of half a dozen others.

Husband Charles is a physicist who worked at CERN before retiring and Charles and Shirley enjoy crossword-solving together though her share tends to be wielding the pencil. She is a fairly poor solver even after over a decade of setting (over 1000 crosswords in print). Setting and solving are different skills, aren’t they?

The two sons live in London and Silicon Valley with their wives and children Sammy and Joan (6 and 3, bilingual in German and English) and little Alex (just 1) who hasn’t said a lot yet but likes tearing crosswords up or scribbling on them (who doesn’t on occasion?)

As for future puzzles, our pipeline is quite bare. I am urgently looking for submissions for October and November.
***
I am indebted to Richard Heald for finding the first television appearance of Paul Henderson, better known to the crossword community as Phi. In 1976, 17 year old Paul had won a competition in TV Times which gained him a place on the panel of Whodunnit, alongside three stars of the time, Magnus Pyke, Lindsay Wagner and Patrick Mower. Paul went on to many more television appearances including Mastermind. I am sure you will enjoy this programme.
https://youtu.be/EABMALrwxow
***
Fans of Telegraph crosswords will be interested in a new Facebook group catering for them. Try searching for Telegraph Puzzles on Facebook and then answer some simple questions to join.

Best wishes
Derek

 

Crossword Centre Prize Puzzle July 2019

Brilliant by Ferret

Brilliant PDF

Before entry, one answer in each row must have a letter omitted, wherever it occurs, and placed in the cell at the end of its row; likewise, one answer in each column must have a letter omitted, wherever it occurs, and placed in the cell at the top of its column.
The omitted letters form a question. Having discovered the point of the extra word in ten clues (to be removed before solving), solvers must highlight the approximate answer (located in a straight line in the filled grid) to the question.

ACROSS
4 Brief domestic and warn wife about casement (11, 2 words)
12 Narrow strip of cloth and two bits of elastic on supporter (6)
13 It’s comparatively uncommon to hold Oscar for person bawling (6)
14 Unreserved parking allowable on excursion (8)
15 Muslim theologian imprisoned by Mamelukes after revolution (5)
17 Paragon Hotel – everything one holds bad (7)
19 Sending back messenger to pursue Queen (6)
20 Combining three species of ox, stuffing is marinated in soy sauce and grilled (8)
21 A few rude to Wren wearing two pearl rings (8, 3 words)
24 Soothing medical drug discovered in caper (6)
27 Greek odes wrongly recalled besieging army (7)
28 Nurse catches spot returning, a result of nasal irritation (5)
29 Pica lifted grub in Sedum (8)
30 Contest excellent goal (6)
31 Overly into ruby related fashion again (6)
32 Collected stone around cliffs regularly to cover bodies (13)

DOWN
1 Strike about introduction of robot that cuts coats, skirts and blouses for example (11)
2 Minion sticking fast, nice, new plastic bags in this place (9)
3 Inhabitant of Douglas, Massachusetts introduced to fellow Christian (7)
5 Phantom badly upset your son (8)
6 Miss Portman reportedly nonpareil, in a fashionable way (7)
7 Hybrid oncidium shoot might be in this repeatedly forked ground (11)
8 Bourgeois author wasting time becomes more sardonic (5)
9 Recover after nil by mouth (6)
10 Ring that has lost its fourth agate sphere (4)
11 Abolition leads to ethanol remaining absent in a manner of speaking (11)
16 Robe worn by old English Master presenting scrolls (9)
18 Presses runners to take off fraction of second (8)
22 Do lines poets composed transgress? (7)
23 Before leaving, presents diamond watches (5)
24 Fine burros found on sierra (6)
25 First on street to stand up for thug in East London (6)
26 Rust effectively smothers cereal grass (4)

To enter this competition, send your entry as an image or in list format giving the question and the highlighted answer to ccpuzzles@talktalk.net before 8th August 2019. The first correct entry drawn from the hat will receive a book from the Chambers range, which has been donated by Chambers

Crossword News June 2019

Crossword News June 2019

The May Prize Puzzle was Leads by Hoot. Superfluous letters gave “starring roles in television for John Thaw”. This allowed the perimeter to give – James Kavanagh QC, John Mann, Jack Regan and Henry Willows. The name ENDEAVOUR MORSE had to be highlighted in the grid.

Here are some of the comments from solvers.

This was a very pleasant crossword to complete and I would not have done so if I had not been able to deduce the words formed by the superfluous letters and then work backwards (I am sure you know what I mean) for the final few entries.  I was not aware of all the starring roles so it was interesting to look them up and be reminded of what a very good and prolific actor, he was.  Thank you Hoot.

Congratulations to Hoots for a puzzle offering a good challenge. The clues were well-constructed – some rather tricky – and the whole was packed with thematic material. If this is a first published puzzle, it’s remarkably good

Many thanks to Hoots for reminding us of the actor John Thaw who over the years gave much pleasure in his various roles on television, and films.  I remember Redcap in particular and wish it could be repeated.  The clues were quite gentle but very enjoyable.

There were 52 entries, of which 2 were marked incorrect. The lucky winner was J C Wagg, who will be receiving a prize of Chambers Complete Crossword Lists which was donated by Chambers.

There is a full solution available at https://wp.me/p7qTXm-bS

You still have time to complete and email your solutions to our two June puzzles, Evergreen by Flowerman and Last Word by Chalicea.

The July Prize Puzzle will be Brilliant by Ferret. Ferret began setting in 2011 and his puzzles have been published in The Magpie, as well as the Inquisitor, Listener and EV series. Brilliant is his third puzzle for the Crossword Centre. After teaching for two years, he joined the Royal Navy during which time he also served with the Royal Marines and The Intelligence Corps. The name Ferret comes from having served twice with a small unit called HMS Ferret. The name seemed appropriate to crosswords where solvers are expected to ferret for the answer to the clues. He is retired and lives in London; the capital’s sights, museums and exhibitions have been the inspiration for many puzzles as have films, a life-long interest.
***
The BBC CiNA 3D Crosswords World Championship 2018 Presentations were held on 18th May in York. Eric Westbrook has sent me this description of the event.

Puck presented  Nick and Sarah Inglis with the BBC Children in Need Appeal 3D Crosswords World Championship 2018 Trophy. Nick and Sarah not only designed an excellent 3D grid with impressive thematic content but also composed a great cryptic clue. eminently useable. It is not easy to do either of the tie-break tasks. To do both with flair and imagination is rare making them most worthy winners at their second attempt. Well done!
The Championship trophy by Sirius is entitled “It’s not a piece of cake.” The stunning amethyst geode looks for all the world like a mouth-watering piece Swiss patisserie. But with reference to Magritte’s “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”, the image is treacherous. Winning the marathon of twelve challenging 3D crosswords set by eleven of the best setters in the UK and beyond, is clearly not a piece of cake! Nick and Sarah retain the engraved salver while amethyst and cake stand-dome move on to the next trophy. It could be you!

Enigmatist presented Lynn Goddard, acting as proxy for Ben Lovering, with the RPM Trophy 2017 which crystallised in the Sirius workshop in early May after several years’ delirium and illness with various unconnected bits appearing at Winchester presentations. Having been unable to realise the ideas it was thought that perhaps the RPM Trophy could remain a conceptual entity with only virtual presence. Then suddenly three trophies appeared at once, like London buses.

Ben’s trophy is a light sculpture. Ben will hold this first edition in perpetuity, recognising his grid designs that have set the 3D crossword world alight, just as those of Ray Parry-Morris did a few years ago. The award also recognizes Ben’s incredible patience.

The RPM trophy 2018 features the seven dials grid by ‘45′ (Ray Parry-Morris) clued by Enigmatist, the classic combination, in the March 2015 3D puzzle with an Eric Clapton theme. Under each printed puzzle layer there is a vinyl 45 record, some referred to in the puzzle itself e.g. ‘Spoonful’, ‘I Feel Free’. It is intended that the trophy holder might dismantle the construction and play the records which are in pristine condition, several with original sleeves. Of the five Cream records, the top is appropriately ‘Sunshine of you Love’. There are two Pink Floyd singles including ‘See Emily Play’. Hence two stacks of 45’s.

The acrylic cube represents RPM’s more usual orthogonal 3D format, covering and fitting exactly a record platter. Also fitting exactly are colourful alphabet bricks in the four corners. As well as the engraved plaque, KW in bricks honours the winner 2018, Keith Williams. ABC is a reference to the brilliant ABC Murders grid where all solutions started with A, B or C but required decapitation before grid entry. Bricks RPM and 45 honour Ray Parry-Morris. Colour and precision are characteristic of ‘45’ grids.

After York, Sirius managed to crawl into ‘The Chambers’, Southsea, to meet up with Ben and re-present his RPM Trophy 2017 and discuss the preparations for the 2020 3D series. Ben won the trophy in the 2017 Tie-break competition for his fabulous ‘Noughts & Crosses’ grid which appeared as the June 2018 Extra. Ben contrived jigsaw solutions to reproduce a finished game on the second layer. Absolutely brilliant.

The trophy itself has a torch shining light onto a microscope mirror reflecting light into a 20cm acrylic cube and on to a pink heart in Waterford crystal with diamond etching, sitting on a 10cm acrylic cube containing a diamond carbon allotrope molecular model. It’s a light sculpture in the cryptic conceptual art tradition by Sirius.

The trophy refers to the amazing ‘heart transplant’ grid by ’45’ as well as his appreciation of the music of  Pink Floyd. It resonates with diamond stylus perhaps and the measure of esteem with which we hold Ray. Ben is a most worthy winner and one who has been very patient as each year Sirius has not been well enough to complete the construction. The title of the piece is ‘Shine on RPM’ and derives from a Pink Floyd track.

The puzzles referred to above can be found in the 3D Crossword archive stretching back to 2008 at: http://www.calendarpuzzles.co.uk/

Jane Teather has given me permission to show her photos of the event and a chance to see the wonderful design of the trophies. https://www.jetdoc.co.uk/3-d-crossword-lunch-may-2019?fbclid=IwAR37XCPF4fLxoB3aO5GgCZoAuh50a-baxBXFJIeR12i3_x00Cd-N6ylSZEI
***
I have just come across a website that could be very useful for Scrabble players. Randoh Sallihall has spent a lot of time building Unscramblerer.com,  a site with lots of tools to help players. He has also compiled a list of tricks and tips for success at http://www.unscramblerer.com/scrabble-strategy-tips-tricks/
***
In the Clue Writing competition June’s challenge is a STANDARD CRYPTIC clue to FLUTTER(7) by the closing date of MIDNIGHT BST SUNDAY 3Oth JUNE.
http://www.andlit.org.uk/cccwc/main.php

Best wishes
Derek

 

Crossword Centre June Special 2019

Last Word by Chalicea

_____________

Last Word by Chalicea PDF

The shaded cells evoke the last six lines of a very popular song. Three of the lines are presented cryptically. Solvers must write the last word (5 letters) below the grid.

Across
6 Stimulating tea to consume in Holyrood in retrospect (3)
7 Moves unsteadily round in swinging motion (4)
8 American fellow seduced by old English instrument (4)
10 Eccentric Latino from time to time with German addiction to work (9)
11 Native of Azerbaijan curiously discovered in Zaire (5)
12 Address supplication, we’re told, for victim (4)
16 Rushes around little primate used in medical research (6)
18 Objections about piece of leftover cigarette, for example (4)
19 Mischievous and foul, back to front (4)
22 Compose, once, conclusion with unusual tie (6)
23 Insistent but not good stinging (5)
24 Of mythological texts journalist and police investigation department turned over (5)
26 Foie-gras pickle contains this savoury jelly (5)
29 Corded cloth mostly came into being for brief copies (6)
31 Strangely pale, T-shaped old flappy modes of covering (11)
33 Logic involving hapless hero or having an excess of words (11)
Down
1 On the radio overacts a glottal stop (6)
2 Person who employs dodgy ruse (4)
3 Ugly old crone we’re told, in hole in a Yorkshire bog (4)
4 Sex-appeal of African uncle with extremes of polish (5)
5 Spanish gentleman put up roof gutters in Glasgow (5)
9 Violently frenzied, out of control, naked on Channel island (8)
13 Poet’s slaughtered young goat, securing bit of lunch (4)
14 Related to resistance, stomaching in a ferment without unwonted angst (5)
15 Fashion upset by beginning of trend with close-cut hair (4)
17 Poet’s to try to equal English person renowned for stubbornness (5)
20 Partly conserved ancient holy text (4)
21 With no restraints, fans know period of time (4)
25 Japan not beginning to produce winning score in Judo (5)
27 Flavoured with aromatic herb, say, including touch of garlic (4)
28 Fish caught with roe newly formed (4)
30 Weed in the sea rising (4)
32 Rustic gear-cutting tool (3)

To enter this competition, send your entry as an image or in list format giving the unclued entries and the last word to ccpuzzles@talktalk.net before 8th July 2019. The first correct entry drawn from the hat will receive a book  donated by the Crossword Centre.

 

Crossword Centre Prize Puzzle June 2019

Evergreen by Flowerman

Evergreen by Flowerman PDF

In sixteen across clues, a letter needs to be removed before solving, always leaving real words. In clue order these spell out advice to help the solver locate and highlight two thematic items (11 cells – 2 words separated, and 5 cells).
In six down clues, a letter in the wordplay must be removed before solving and inserted in the wordplay of the next affected clue or, in the case of the final clue of the series, inserted in the first affected clue. Letters leave and enter different words, and real words result from the changes. The removed letters in order spell out a word which, together with a word in the grid, form a product of the theme. The word in the grid can be found using the advice above and must be highlighted.
One entry, which can also be found using the advice, represents one word of an additional two-word thematic item. As well as highlighting this word, solvers must show that they know what the other word is by highlighting two examples of it (both 4 cells). One is an entry and the other is a partial entry.
Finally, solvers must highlight the theme (13 cells).

Across
1 Bard ropes in a servant finally to deliver son’s medication (8)
6 Permanent prize backed by karate academy (5)
9 Unit deserted after drummer went on and on (6)
10 A fitter upset with old associate forgetting about vessels (6)
13 Estimation of supplies detailed on time (6)
14 Tenor out of pocket? It’s astonishing (6)
15 Dental duo dealt with swellings (9)
16 Fish in one’s crate primarily caught off Dover (5)
18 Sound tense entertaining international artist (6)
19 Is Norma accepting chancellor’s rock? (7, 2 words)
21 Information sent back about universal joints (5)
23 Primate regularly marking canons (4)
25 Reportedly Jock’s packing is orange (5)
26 An amount of moonshine left (4)
27 Tabu ignored by adaptable old magistrate (5)
28 Girl extremely taken with positive boss (7)
31 Yuppies not content to get into queue for amino acid (6)
33 Eccentric rated after having succeeded in disabling weapon (5)
35 City gets 42 title thanks to actress (9, 2 words)
37 Wild sheep on moor turned tail after Troy fired (6)
38 Are sailor’s nets for Will’s attacks? (6)
39 Communist member finally tore up card (6)
40 Grump perhaps acting appallingly in the middle of an opening (6)
41 Grasp and tie silk cloth (5)
42 Ann cracking jokes at start of egg-and-spoon race (8

Down
1 Lord! Dutch women wanting me to feed a bull (6)
2 Gunners crossing over pass to provide help for a group (6)
3 Bad for an Australian ring to shun canine breed (5)
4 Officer putting down a proposal (4)
5 In eastern Iran it is ultimately not prudent to gossip (6)
6 Yogi prayed to be reincarnated? Not ever, according to some genius (7)
7 Game over, Toni’s sacking nurses (7)
8 Mostly store mother’s minced beef (5)
11 Hounds and gun dogs passing badger’s burrow? Hard to say in advance (7)
12 Gents in favour in Albany (6)
13 Conservative Catholics closing in on identity for insect (6)
14 Retire to an ancient English property beside river (7)
17 Gran taking out special teat perhaps to supply foodstuff (7)
20 Authorised to underpin very good petition (7)
22 Sponsor endlessly turning up to support university organ (6)
23 Blake repeatedly breaking into sound of om relaxed (6)
24 Curie determined to zap the terminal section of a chromosome (7)
25 Strangeness in governing body detected by faculties (7)
28 Ray pinching queen’s sacred text (6)
29 Smooth and cylindrical core discarded by the network (6)
30 Cinephile’s focus is on train leaving Norway in mystery (6)
32 Once driven to turn off at end of highway (5)
34 Food ends up on Tony’s foot (5)
36 Except for The Sun, mark press down (4)

To enter this competition, send your entry as an image or in list format giving the highlighted entries and the theme to ccpuzzles@talktalk.net before 8th July 2019. The first correct entry drawn from the hat will receive a book from the Chambers range, which has been donated by Chambers.

Crossword News May 2019

Crossword News May 2019

The April prize Puzzle was 12-AC by Apt. By coincidence, this was published on the weekend that BBC1screened the first episode of series 5 of In Line of Duty, and that was the theme of the puzzle! The pairs of entries with swapped definitions are anagrams of the actors playing police officers investigated for corruption by ‘AC-12’ in the first three series of the TV drama Line of Duty: LENNIE JAMES (NINJAS/MELEE), KEELEY HAWES (EELS/HAWKEYE) and DANIEL MAYS (DAILY/MENSA). The pair forming an anagram of the relevant actor for the fourth series, THANDIE NEWTON, was to be highlighted.

A full solution is available at https://wp.me/p7qTXm-bD

Here are some of the comments from solvers.

Thanks to Apt for the mostly easy clues (and the BBC for the constant trailers for the latest series which must have meant 12-AC was liable to ring a bell somewhere.) Having not watched any previous series, it did mean recourse to Wiki to find, not the names of the villains, but of the actors playing them.

I’m a late convert to ‘Line of Duty’ and, though I entered 12-AC early on and 36-AC not long after, it needed Google to determining the four names required. I thought the puzzle was well-constructed with a good number of clues having a smooth surface reading, enhanced by the transposition of the 6 definitions in three pairs of clues. Thanks to Apt for an enjoyable challenge.

Many thanks for the highly entertaining puzzle 12-AC by Apt. Aside from the new (for me) non-square grid it had some delights in the cluing and overall construction. The theme in 12ac of AC-12 came relatively easily after a few entries in the top left corner and 36ac followed swiftly. Then came the thematic links. All very satisfying. I am looking forward to next month already!

There were 46 entries, of which 2 were marked incorrect. The lucky winner, picked from the electronic hat, was Geoff Telfer from Shipley, who will soon be receiving a prize book.

You still have time to complete and submit your solution to the May puzzle, Leads by Hoot.

The June Prize Puzzle will be Evergreen by Flowerman. Flowerman is Ian Thompson, who has enjoyed solving cryptic puzzles since the 1970s. Having had more free time in the past five years, he has become a compiler of both standard and thematic puzzles. Most of his puzzles have been published in the Australian Crossword Club’s monthly magazine Crozworld, but some have also been published in the Crossword Centre and in Magpie.

Born and raised in Numurkah, Victoria, Australia, he currently resides in Melbourne with partner Jo. He has three boys. In his youth he was a keen sportsman and now keeps fit by cycling. He enjoys jigsaw puzzles. He has worked as a veterinary surgeon and as a plant taxonomist, hence the pseudonym. He is now retired apart from a small amount of teaching of biology at the University of Melbourne.

There will also be a June special, Last Word by Chalicea. Solutions to this special will also count towards annual statistics.
***
Robert Teuton sends a massive apology for the delay in announcing the results of the 2018 statistics. He has overcome lots of problems to get them sorted.

Six competitors manage to remain all correct for the year 2018 – three of them being the all corrects from 2017, i.e. Matthew Auger, Keith Williams and Brian Betker.  Joining them at the top of the pile are RJ Green, Dale Johannesen and Andie Johnson.  In the time-honoured tradition of the Cup passing on the the next in line of the all-corrects with the best countback record the winner for 2018 is thus Brian Betker! So, congratulations to Brian who will have his name inscribed on the beautiful Crowther Cup, named in honour of our old friend Trevor Crowther.

Robert hopes to publish the full statistics shortly.
***
A recent study on the effects of doing puzzles and word games on brain functions has been carried out at the University of Essex. From their results, researchers calculate that people who engage in word puzzles have brain function equivalent to ten years younger than their age, on tests assessing grammatical reasoning and eight years younger than their age on tests measuring short term memory. You can read more at this link.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190516082349.htm
***
If you have ever wondered how setters create puzzles with multiple letters in individual cells, EV editor, Steve Bartlett has written a fascinating explanation on Crossword Unclued. He advises using Qxw and show how he sets some of his complex crosswords.
https://www.crosswordunclued.com/2019/04/crossword-software-to-make-puzzles-with.html
***
Should crossword grids be symmetrical? Alan Connor addresses this question with an analysis of Emu’s wonderful Listener crossword 4549, From where I’m Standing.
https://www.theguardian.com/crosswords/crossword-blog/2019/apr/29/crossword-blog-why-are-puzzles-symmetrical
***
Last month I mentioned Phi’s 2018 Apex puzzle which is sent to a group of solvers every Christmas. Now that the results have been completed, Phi has put the crossword on his website. You can have a try at this tough puzzle at this link.
http://phionline.net.nz/apex-crosswords/apex-2018/
***
The April Azed competition was to write a Printer’s Devilry clue to ERATHEM. The winning clue was by E C Lance who entered his first clue 60 years ago.

In Mozart’s op/inion, Figaro must outwit his master.

(In Mozart’s opera the minion, Figaro, must outwit his master.)

In his slip Azed commented – “And finally, special congratulations to Mr (or is it Dr?) Lance for gaining his first prize after competing for 60 years in Ximenes/Azed competitions, a real triumph of persistence. His earlier near misses (VHCs and HCs) are recorded on the andlit.org.uk website.” http://www.andlit.org.uk/azed/slip.php?comp_no=2443

Best wishes
Derek