Solution to Flowers by Flowerman

Solution to October 2018 Prize Puzzle Flowers by Flowerman

Flowers, solution and explanations


Crossword Centre Prize Puzzle November 2018

481914-11111918 by Gnomie

 The theme was a 42ac of 2d (5,8 of 1,1,1). The title applied to the clues will guide solvers with regard to what to highlight in the completed grid. One solution is in the ODE, not in Chambers.

481914-11111918 PDF version

1 Dreadful waste for common soldier (5)
5 Religious recluse’s ill-made trench coat, trimmed at both ends (8)
11 Transliterated from Greek, this comes at end of open hostility (3)
14 Fire-watching absorbs this old unit (3)
15 Original fatalities (men) in last approximate calculation (13, 2 words)
16 A mark, shot from regularly in anti-tank war (3)
18 Here, thematic character distinguished himself when securing damaged mine (6)
20 Involving people on the inside sheltering according to staff officer (13)
23 Storehouses preposterously separate; Royal Artillery excluded (6)
26 Whisky’s staple takes us out of hell and back (4)
27 Originally how fighters must assimilate IT, having ability to predict what will happen (13, 2 words)
30 Disintegration of a trial producing bright gaseous mass (6)
32 Dutiful thematic character if stirred up could give woe and pain (3)
34 Notes position after retreat (3)
36 Reactionary evil smear (3)
38 Disheartened, try pity, from time to time, with new very small foreign unit (5)
40 In a tumult initially losing nerve and denying ceaselessly (13)
42 See preamble (13, 2 words)
47 Harsh long-continued struggle backfiring (3)
48 General situation’s limitlessly irreconcilable (3)
49 Scenes of lively action surrounding first of operational sudden short attacks (6)
50 Weapons led astray, with troubled thematic character absent, passed into disuse (6)
1 It rises, surrounded by warring foes for a weak person (6)
2 See preamble (3)
3 One exceptionally long period (3)
4 Haplessly each pal advanced becoming class of dangerous creatures (8)
6 Distraught prisoner endlessly more offensively curious (6)
7 React chaotically to provide rations (5)
8 Units in the employ of the King? (4)
9 A-list once occasionally elevated such beings (5)
10 Without orderly aide, deliberate about the highest part (6)
12 Scottish rogues; male politicians (5)
13 Dying, shelled, in principle associated with earth, dark and cold (3)
17 Opposed to violent action, company leaving (4)
19 Unexcited night before main event for thematic character, possibly (3)
21 Replacement of equipment burnt ultimately after wild fire (5)
22 Funeral ceremonies with no time for exotic religious belief (3)
24 Miserably pitied, lacking independence and with little enthusiasm (5)
25 Unit’s occasionally past it (3)
27 All the thematic character can do in armed conflict situation finally (4)
28 Thematic character, OTT, swallowing this old rye could become noteworthy (3)
29 State of horror when top blown off explosive projectile (4)
31 Letter turns up in bits of veteran’s army tackle (3)
33 Record article on advance in northern lines (5)
35 Respectful form of address for example with less than half of language (6)
37 Fine French auberge more than half destroyed (4)
38 Irritable fellow employed to care for mechanical equipment (5)
39 Plants offensive to the sight, we hear; weeds finally (5)
41 Indian barbers regularly inhabit lowest bit of dugouts (4)
42 Young collectively in battle; adult absent (3)
43 Anything locally served up for what is said to be company (3)
44 Unit permitted absence from duty (three-fifths only!) (3)
45 Note of defeat mostly recollected (3)
46 Fruit’s terrific, it’s said, with 29 removed (3)

To enter this competition, send your entry as an image or in list format with an explanation of the highlighting, to before 8th December 2018. The first correct entry drawn from the hat will receive a book donated by  Chambers.

Crossword News October 2018

Crossword News October 2018

Last month our Prize Puzzle was DEORR by Rebus. The title was a cryptic clue to alphabetical order and the undefined lights were all the names of alphabets.

Here are some of the comments from solvers.

This was an enjoyable solve with the PDM initiated by realising that BRAHMI was an undefined clue. The other alphabets were spotted (with Bradford’s help) fairly soon thereafter. I should have been more canny about the preamble’s comment about clues being presented thematically. The last revelation was the puzzle’s title – I should have put this in order earlier.  Thanks to Rebus.

A pleasant solve: the thematic order became obvious fairly quickly, but it took longer to spot the connection between the thematic answers (or indeed to spot them at first).  That combined with finding the right place for entries made it an interesting challenge.  Particularly liked the clues to BESTRIDE and NAGARI.

A fun challenge!

A ervy abeejlnoy epluzz, ahknt ouy beRsu

There were 47 entries and all were correct. The lucky winner, picked from the electronic hat, was Ian Thompson, from Victoria, Australia, who will be receiving a copy of Chambers Complete Crossword Lists, which was donated by Chambers.

You can find a solution to DEORR at

You still have lots of time to complete and submit your entry for the October competition, Flowers by Flowerman.  Our Prize Puzzle for November is 481914-11111918 by Gnomie.

We are also delighted to offer for November one of Eric Westbrook’s 3D crosswords, In Search of a Hero by Sirius. Eric is offering a prize of £100 for the winner drawn from the hat.

Eric sends us this reminder of the great work he is doing for charity.

For 2019, as usual, we have another twelve 3D crosswords set on the frame of the calendar year. Each day has a clue to solve, each month a three-dimensional crossword grid to complete in a prize competition. The puzzles are clued by eleven of the best crossword setters in the UK and beyond, plus one setter from another star system – which we think is probably unique.

Each month bears a gorgeous photograph by Graham Fox. In addition, there are cryptic visual clues by Frank Paul, author and artist of ‘The Cryptic Pub Quiz’.

Successful solvers qualify for The Tie-Break Competition to determine who will be the next BBC Children in Need Appeal 3D Crosswords World Champion. That is a snappy title. It could be you!

The project is presented at:

It seems unlikely that there will be a printed calendar for 2019 so do download the puzzles and make a donation.

We have happy memories of our colleague, Trevor Crowther, who died three years ago. His college, Keble College, Oxford, have recently recorded this obituary.

Trevor Mostyn Crowther

Trevor Crowther was born in Liverpool on 5 November 1953, the only son of Neville, Assistant County Surveyor at Hampshire County Council, and Betty. He moved to Winchester with his parents in 1962.

He attended Peter Symonds School in Winchester, leaving in the early 70s to study Chemistry at Keble College, Oxford where he joined the John Wesley Society making a number of close friends. On leaving Oxford Trevor moved to Burnham Beeches and forged a successful career in marketing.  His first job was with Neilson’s where he remained until he was head hunted to join AGB; he stayed with AGB for many years, having marketing responsibility for a number of high-profile accounts.

After he left AGB Trevor moved back to Winchester and more recently became a much-respected member of the crossword community, providing support to crossword editors on a variety of broadsheet papers. For many years Trevor was a marker for competitions and tester for submissions for the Crossword Centre, an on-line crossword site. He was well renowned for his on line “Moanday” or Monday Moan session and, after his death, Trevor’s crossword friends contributed to buying a silver-plated cup in his honour- to be awarded to the best solver of the year. “The Crowther Cup” contains the Latin inscription gemitus vincit omnia (a moan beats everything)! In an article in the Independent, published shortly after his death, Trevor was described as “wise, witty and stimulating”.

Trevor also enjoyed pub quizzes and quickly progressed to being a quiz master in his local pub. He had a great love of music, with wide ranging tastes extending from classical music through to pop and rock. He enjoyed travel, particularly in Europe, but loved nothing better than pottering in the garden and was known affectionately amongst his friends as “Trevor the Gardener”. Trevor died suddenly, at home, on 27th February 2015.
Next year’s Listener Crossword Setters’ Dinner will take place on Saturday 2nd March 2019, in the Gimcrack Suite at York Racecourse, YO23 1EX. Real ale will be available in the bar, beforehand and up to 12:30 am. If you expected to get an invitation and didn’t receive one, please get in touch with Jane Teather or John Henderson who are organising the 2019 event.
The York S & B will take place on the 26 – 28 October. I expect to turn up for the Saturday event at the Fox & Roman on Tadcaster Road to meet crossword friends and take part in the quiz. You can get all the details at
The Times Crossword Championship will take place on 3 November and everyone will be expecting current champion Mark Goodliffe to add another victory to his long-standing record. For those attending the event, solvers and followers will be meeting all day in the George Inn, The George Inn Yard, 77 Borough High St, Southwark, London SE1 1NH
Those of you who enjoyed the GCHQ Puzzle Book will be pleased to learn that another one is being published. The GCHQ Puzzle Book II will be published on the 18th October and I have made it our Book of the Month on the Crossword Centre.

Remember that any Amazon purchases made from links on the Crossword Centre will earn a small commission which helps us cover postage charges and running costs.
Currently it is possible to access the Spectator crossword without being a subscriber. I found this link worked for me.
The popular BBC series Only Connect is back on our screens on 22 October. They are now looking for contestants for the 2019 series, either as a team of three or individuals seeking like-minded team mates. To apply send an email to
The latest challenge on the CCCWC is to write a Printers Devilry clue to OPAL. You can get all the details at

Best wishes





Crossword Centre Prize Puzzle October 2018

Flowers by Flowerman

Flowers by Flowerman PDF

In eight across clues there is a superfluous letter generated by the wordplay. These letters need to be arranged to form two words. One word is a synonym of two answers that are the same length as this word. The second word, composed from the remaining letters, is a synonym of the unclued 26.

The names of two major features of an Australian 26 can be located in the grid (13 contiguous cells in total). Using these cells as well as six additional cells as a guide, the two features are to be pictorially represented (in a much simplified manner). The six additional cells are contiguous with the other 13, and their letters spell out an alliterative description of one of the features.

3 Band’s ostentation out of place (4)
5 Endless revision spoiled piano pieces? (7)
10 Hospital getting behind deputy showing insight (5)
11 Importing this dye will make master capital (4)
12 Afternoon tea reportedly swell at summit (4)
13 Farewell dreary without Ed’s spirit (6)
15 Counsel Dave about eradicating European sage (6)
16 Odd name for Eastern plant (4)
17 Great confusion in the Titanic ultimately (4)
19 Extract forcibly making point about Britain (5)
21 Passengers get on (4)
22 Aware of 43 moving fast after the start (8)
24 River draining eastern end of Highlands swamp (5)
25 Hairdresser experimenting primarily with new cut (4)
26 Unclued (5)
27 Bureau’s dispensing with formality in dispatches (4)
29 Square blocks of wood in Jock’s shelters (5)
32 One at church gathering charging bishop for drink (8, 2 words)
35 Cripple requiring new scrubbing brush? On the contrary (4)
37 Go over recipe before a meal (5)
39 Gulls ignoring Chinese grub (4)
40 Reject stupidly erasing Morag’s identity (4)
42 Sentimental look over year at university (6)
43 Cardinal receiving brood at a specific location (6)
44 Garment brought back by a … (4)
45 … reluctant cleaner wanting cash up front (4)
46 Gifted gentleman on vacation embracing resort (5)
47 Fish approach outer reef suspiciously at first (7)
48 In memo HQ backed SEALs (4)
1 Ed’s to look at way to house deserted wife (5)
2 Bush threatened as eccentric shaking hands cracked (7, 2 words)
3 16 rudely left present without coming in (10)
4 Made fast introduction to inquire about female’s glance (6)
5 Those with firm views on the way society assimilates information (13)
6 Former boxer struggling perhaps in English town (6)
7 Teacher was wrong to get shot of embarrassed partygoer (5)
8 Stains on sides but not the centre, strangely (6)
9 Change recipes after queen goes berserk (6)
11 Parcel of land devoid of vegetation after cropping (3)
14 Oven cosily warm inside (4)
18 Aspect of grammar textbook that’s covering verbs initially (10)
20 Composer disheartened by lesson (4)
23 Couple hosting college ball attracting opposition (4)
28 Diner after 39 extremely sick (7)
29 Earl invested in American woman’s kip (6)
30 Draw roughly on fabric (6)
31 Unaffected by depression when date’s special (6)
33 Little boy game to eat unknown coastal plant (6)
34 Arnold’s issuing order in Mac’s inner rooms (4)
36 University indifferent when accountant dumped stock (5)
38 Out-of-date piano needs special hammers (5)
41 Drama over in US state (3)

To enter this competition, send your entry as an image or in list format clearly indicating the pictorial representation,, to before 8th November 2018. The first correct entry drawn from the hat will receive a book donated by Chambers.

Crossword News September 2018

Crossword News September 2018

Last month our Prize Puzzle was The Unusual Suspects by Phylax. The words removed are CAPON (15a), RED (16a), RED (26a), RED (29a), KIPPER (33a), RED (2d), SILD (4d), BUCKLING (32d), RED (40d) and BRIT (41d). These suggest ‘The Five Red Herrings’, a detective novel by Dorothy L Sayers. The names to be found in the completed grid are SARAH, CRAIG, SIR ALEX, STACY, JOHN and HARRY; the killer in the book is JOHN Ferguson, so the other five Fergusons (The Unusual Suspects) are ‘red herrings’ and should therefore be highlighted in that colour. Solvers should be aware that other colours were marked correct.

Here are some of the comments from solvers.

As a big reader of detective fiction I had to give it a go and I was really pleased that I did. I thought the clues were all of an excellent standard (I think ‘ISLE’ is my favourite) and whilst the 10 ‘special’ clues were a bit trickier I got there in the end. The endgame held me up for a while – I was convinced that the 6 first names had to have the 6 surnames of the 6 suspects from the book attached to them. ’Sir Alex’ had so obviously to be ‘Ferguson’ that I discounted this from the others and spent quite some time on the internet looking for famous ‘Farrens’, ’Strachans’ etc! I think ‘Sarah Waters’ was the best I could find.  The penny finally dropped when I thought of ’Sarah Ferguson’ and then wondered if they could all be ‘Fergusons’ – et voila!  So I’ve highlighted the 5 ‘red herrings’ – and hopefully that’s correct. My only criticism is I’ve never read the book – and now I know whodunit it seems like I never will!

I thought The Unusual Suspects was of an even higher standard than normal.  I have scribbled at the top of my page “some cracking clues”, mainly due to the perfect and perfectly misleading surface readings.  If I had to pick out one, it would be 39a => TROUSER; it made me giggle.  Maybe of interest to Phylax: before I realised that the theme was D L Sayers’s novel, 10d had me going for ages. When I saw SETTER as part of the answer, I immediately jumped to RED (because of RED HERRINGS) and then spent fruitless hours searching for other red SOMETHINGs in the clue constructions or answers !!!!  My only slight reservation is about the final highlighting. I did scour the grid trying to find a phrase or combination of words to indicate that JOHN was the culprit, but then reverted to the more obvious (but somehow slightly less satisfying) solution of highlighting all but one of the already-discovered six names.

This was one of the Crossword Centre’s easier puzzles – and very welcome too! I enjoyed the solve with a PDM at just about the right time. It’s a long time since I’d read the work in question but still have my copy for which I paid 40p in 1974. I resorted to Wikipedia for a list of characters to enable identification of the ‘Usual suspect’. A nice set of clues, some quite tricky. I did wonder if, in 22D, ‘Flares’ should be ‘Flakes’.  Thanks to Phylax.

There were 36 entries of which 2 were marked incorrect. The lucky winner, picked from the electronic hat, was Geoff Telfer.

A full solution and notes is available at

You still have time to complete the September Prize Puzzle DEORR by Rebus.

The October Prize Puzzle will be Flowers by Flowerman.

There are puzzles in the pipeline for November and December but nothing for 2019.
I was saddened to hear of the death of Steve Mann. He was part of the Mango setting team, along with Roddy Forman and John Guiver, and also set puzzles under the pseudonym Seth Mould. I only met him once but we exchanged emails over many years. He had an original way of thinking and natural sense of humour. His witty posts on our message board often had the moderators in a rage. A talented musician, he regularly sent me videos of his guitar and keyboard skills. Sadly, after the breakdown of his marriage he was beset by financial and health problems. May he rest in peace.

He submitted one puzzle to the Crossword Centre in 2008 and you can try it at

Tributes to Steve were posted on our message board
There are changes afoot on the Telegraph crossword site. A new modern layout allows you to access interactive puzzles on a full range of devices and see your progress on the leaderboards. You can get more information here
Subscriptions for the Telegraph crossword site range from £4.99 per month or an annual subscription for £35.88. It is possible to get a free 7-day trial.
I am looking forward to attending next month’s autumn S&B weekend get-together in York, on Friday evening 26th October to Sunday lunchtime 28th October with the main event at the Fox and Roman during the day on Saturday 27th. I was there last year and enjoyed tackling one of John Henderson’s convoluted quizzes and meeting up with crossword friends. You can get more information and details of accommodation at

Note that on the following Saturday, the 3 November, the Times Crossword Championship will be taking place in London.
I have come across a fascinating site dedicated to mechanical puzzles. It certainly is worth having a look at The Metagrobologist
If you are trying to explain cryptic clues to someone you might find this short BBC video useful. Clues by Boatman are explained in an amusing animated cartoon.

Last Tuesday the talented setter Anax, Dean Mayer, created a crossword in real-time and streamed the whole process. It was a fascinating insight into how a setter’s mind operates and how he uses a whole array of software to get the job done. You can catch up on this unique video on YouTube at
The CWC Clue-writing Competition this month is to write a clue to JOANNA LUMLEY. The closing date is 30 September. More information here

Best wishes

Crossword Centre Prize Puzzle September 2018

DEORR by Rebus

DEORR by Rebus PDF

Clues are presented thematically. Eight thematic answers are clued without definition. Fit the answers where they will go.

Fish ladder top to bottom start to swim! (6)
A main artery going square like a pest. (7)
Got there but on leaving, was heartbroken. (5)
Loves dream is shattered. (7)
Assembly, one to try on gunners (5)
Stories from two articles. (3)
Imposingly sit across number one horse. (8)
Support him with alterations. (6)
Half dance and then three fifths make a fortune. (6)
Feature named Burmese troops. (7)
Shakespearean quote, “gold hillside.” (6)
Even scouts use a swearword. (4)
Small stream in icy-cold resort. (8)
With overhangs back to front Ian’s worry (5)
God of Paris without a farewell (4)
Old timer does portion and takes heart. (4)
Stretched Derek out, right out! (4)
Emile sprayed fragrant substance (5)
Unfortunate general dead, blown up! (8)
Bit unopened run (4)
Brother on steroids hides waders. (6)
Extravagant rice-cake finisher. (4)
A shining example of music once. (4)
Easily annoyed, CID ran university ragged. (7)
Double spirit cheers at heart, not available. (8)
Supports including a fortune recipient. (7)
Tile, gloomy, no good. (3)
Crazy and a dreadful shame to suppress hate (7)
In Dresden dark chant is horrible (5)
Niagara Falls endlessly. (6)
Black Italian expert drops nothing (4)
Unconventional time, combined centrally. (4)
Old school (4)
Old bird to copy moving one forward. (3)
Cope with thin arrangement. (8)
Sent message, roadside disaster gone south. (7)
King horribly maims logical system. (6)
Pancake flipped, it’s gold. (5)
Marsupial prison we’re told. (5)
Swordsman on horseback makes bus rear up! (7)
Partly wash each soap ingredient. (4)
Skip and jump, it’s a drag. (7)
Cosmetic firm featured in most of magazine (8)
Parties turned over and so may this be! (3)
Bomber returns holding thane’s head. It could be Macbeth’s title. (7)
Mineral water absorbed by this, whip up about fifty. (4)
Novice held back by authority. (4)
Dotty auntie is a member of a Christian community. (6)
Waste product is epicurean ingredient. (4)
Put out funny money, say. (5)

To enter this competition, send your entry as an image or in list format, to before 8th October 2018. The first correct entry drawn from the hat will receive a book donated by  Chambers.

Crossword News August 2018

Crossword News August 2018

The July Prize Puzzle was No Coincidence by Stick Insect. This was a great puzzle based on a quote. Douglas Adams in the opening paragraphs of The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul tells us “It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression ‘As pretty as an airport’.”  The first part of this statement inspired the puzzle’s title, the second part formed the message revealed in the puzzle.   Clashing letters had to be arranged to show eleven US airport three-letter codes, positioned in roughly correct geographical position to each other.

Here are some of the comments from solvers.

Very unusual theme.  Perhaps it is original.  I wonder if there is any significance in the fact that all of the thematic items appear to be American?  Maybe not.  Anyway, I enjoyed this puzzle very much, so big thanks to Stick Insect.  I surprised myself with this one.  Normally, having solved a crossword, I do not relish much further work, especially if it involves Google.  Having completed this puzzle and worked out the theme, I understood what was required.  Thankfully the airports were geographically approximate and I stumbled on a website that made the rest a little easier.  It would not have been as easy if I had not guessed that they were all in the USA.  That said, it was an enjoyable puzzle to solve and an interesting theme.  Thank you, Stick Insect.

This was a most enjoyable puzzle and kudos to Stick Insect for conception of theme, grid, clues and twists.  Thought the collection of clues was a nice balance of easy and tough, most of them with enough of a challenge to keep it interesting and engaging.  As always the ‘overflow’ entries were the ticklish ones.  Particularly liked 50A leading to AS ONE MAN, a stand-out clue amongst many nice ones.  Thanks setter and organisers.

While I was a fan of the Hitchhiker series of books, the first Dirk Gently book just annoyed me and I failed to finish it, so I certainly wasn’t familiar with a quote from the second book in that series. Initially I was concerned that I might have to choose what order to put the groups of letters in, given the vast number of airport codes that exist, but I soon realised that putting across before down consistently produced major US airports. Thanks to Stick Insect.

There were 44 entries, of which 5 were marked incorrect. The lucky winner, picked from the electronic hat, was Gron Roberts, who will shortly be receiving a copy of Chambers Complete Crossword Lists donated by Chambers.

There is a full solution and notes at

You still have time to solve this month’s Prize Puzzle, The Unusual Suspects by Phylax. Entries close at midnight on the 8th September.

Next month our Prize Puzzle will be DEORR by Rebus. Susan and Patrick (Rebus) live North of Sydney. They met in London over 30 years ago and have been writing and solving cryptic crosswords together ever since. Patrick is a teacher ( he regularly plagues his students with puzzles) and Susan a designer. Both have run ‘How to do Cryptic Crosswords’ courses for adult education. They particularly enjoy The Listener and eagerly anticipate offerings by Kea and Schadenfreude.
The crossword setter Nuala Considine died at the end of July after a short illness. She compiled her first crossword at the age of 18 and her last recently at the age of 90. She set around 1000 puzzles for the Daily Telegraph and 830 for the Sunday Telegraph. In recent years she set Toughie puzzles under the pseudonym Excalibur. She also set puzzles for the Daily Mail, the Evening Standard and Daily Express.

In Jonathan Crowther’s book, The A-Z of Crosswords, he notes-

Nuala also compiled a crossword called “The Stinker” for the Weekend Mail, which had a devoted following. One group who attempted regularly to solve it jointly, became so frustrated that they wrote to the paper asking for a photograph of the setter so that they could throw darts at it, a request that was politely refused on the grounds that the setter was a lady.

Her clues were often short and witty and there have been lots of comments on her style. Here are a few of them.

Ram home (5,3)

From this spring the clocks go back (8,2,5)

Having regrettable links with one’s work? (7,2,1,4)

Goodness gracious! This means we’re not flying upside down! (7,5)

Zen (3,3,4)

Why did the Japanese go to the bar? (Give up?) (7)

A new clue-writing competition has started with the task a Right/Left clue to FAIRY/POINT.
A cartoon that appeared in the New Yorker had President Trump saying to a reporter, “I’ll stop calling you ‘Enemy of the People’ when you start printing crossword puzzles that I can solve.” Guardian setter, Brian Greer, came up with a puzzle that might be suitable.

The cartoon is also commented on in the Guardian Crossword round-up at

And I can recommend Mark Goodliffe’s suggested puzzle at
Word Tips is a very useful website for checking words in Scrabble or crosswords. I have added a link on our Links page. You can test the site at and I would be pleased to hear any comments on it.
It is very encouraging to see a teenager being enthusiastic about cryptic crosswords. 16-year-old Lucy Evans has started compiling crosswords and has set up a website to show her first effort. I think she shows a lot of promise. You can see for yourself at and follow her on Twitter @navy_clues

Best wishes