Crossword News June 2017

The May Prize Puzzle was Well-Connected by Dilwitch. This was themed on two celebrated pairs of conjoined twins which solvers had to highlight as well as their countries of origin. The theme was Siamese Twins, CHANG and ENG BUNKER from THAILAND and DAISY and VIOLET HILTON from ENGLAND.  Each twin’s first name shares a letter with that of its sibling.

Here are some of the comments from solvers.

I found this tough, only gaining a few entries at each sitting and am still puzzled by a few of the clues. Very clever construction which had me fooled as regards the theme. I thought at first it was novels or characters. T-cloth instead of J-cloth had me baffled for a while but just as well as I guessed it was novel characters and fortuitously searched for Violet and Daisy. If I had included Jane in the search then I might have missed the theme. Then I was looking for Siam instead of Thailand and first identified Eng at 9ac. A good challenge all the way through.

The nature of the clues, a pair sharing something, was a clever device reflecting the theme, as was the joining of the Christian names in the grid.  Whether “well” was a good choice in the title might be moot: if the Wikipedia entry for the Hiltons is accurate, it is hard to imagine the horror of living with a dead conjoined twin for a couple of days, let alone such unremitting intimacy throughout life.  There were some delightful clues.  Long, long ago, in poems without end, extremely famous, inspired name used a cunning definition to which the placing of commas contributed (is my memory faulty or had it not used to be common to see “punctuation might mislead” in preambles? – anyway, nice to see a lovely example).   They go in for performance and rip off clothes, “——!”, I’d say – a flourish that’s linked to lift and Devotees of romantic novels, women devour lovers’ antics with ecstasy were excellent too.   In contrast, “breaking” in 33 and “through” in 38 seemed to serve no purpose other than to help the surface reading, and does “letter” in 42 perform a double duty in wordplay (edh) and definition?

A very tough puzzle as demonstrated by the lowish entry and high percentage error count of those received!  Main problems were with the highlighting and ELEGIT/SNEB with PLUGIN/SNUB being the usual alternative attempted.

Total Entries    37

Correct            24

Incorrect          13

The Lucky Winner out of the Electronic Hat was Keith Williams who will soon be receiving his prize donated by Chambers.

There is a full solution and notes available at

Dilwitch is the pseudonym of David Harry, veteran crossword enthusiast and a noted clue-writer in the Azed competitions. We met in Gateshead in March and discussed this puzzle. I commented on how fit and sprightly he looked. However, a few weeks later he suffered a major stroke and was rushed to hospital. The last I heard he was making progress in recuperating but it will be a difficult time for him and his wife, Barbara. We wish him a healthy recovery.

This month you still have time to solve and enter your solution for our ninth Round Robin, Liven Up With… Do not forget to send a vote for your favourite clue(s).

Our Prize Puzzle for July will be James Patrick? by Towser. This puzzle has the largest barred grid ever published on the Crossword Centre.

We are still looking to publish puzzles for October and November. As usual we welcome crosswords from debutants and seasoned setters.
In July there will be three crossword meetings. The first will be in Macclesfield on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th. Organised by Dean Mayer (Anax etc) this this will be held at the lovely Alpine-themed Snowgoose Cafe on Sunderland Street. This is within 5 minutes’ walk of the railway station and Travelodge.

John Henderson is inviting Inquisitor solvers to The Vine Inn in Kennedy Street in Manchester on July 22nd for a gathering to mark the publication of the 1500th puzzle in the Inquisitor series.

John is also planning a York S & B meeting on 27 to 29 July. Full details are available on the Fifteen Squared site at
A very interesting article in the Washington Post reminds us how D-Day Landing code words found their way into the Telegraph crossword in 1944.

The CWC Clue Writing Competition is going from strength to strength and even if you don’t enter it is worth looking at the clues and joining in the vote. This month’s competition is to compose a Right and Left clue to COLLOP/SURTAX. Voting on the clues to MICKEY continues until the 21st June. The CWCCC is at

If you receive this newsletter by email you are eligible to participate but you will have to register your email address. If you wish to join the mailing list there is advice here

And finally, from The Sunday Post-4 Jun 2017

A SCOTS grandmother, Eileen Doherty, 95 has become so hooked on crosswords that she is vowing to have one engraved on her tombstone.

Best wishes