Crossword News August 2017
The July Prize Puzzle on the Crossword Centre was James Patrick? by Towser. The puzzle was themed on HENRY and a Henry had to be removed from some across clues. The remaining across answers can be somewhat mispronounced (in clue order) by Laurence K(err) Olivier as Henry the Fifth: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, or close the wall up with our English dead!”
Here are some of the comments from solvers.
A satisfying puzzle to solve on a number of levels. I was thrown for a while by the (occasionally) lengthy definitions in normal clues and by the (occasionally) lengthy clues that lacked a definition! I did like the free rendition of ‘Once more………………’ Good stuff – thanks!
Many thanks to Towser for two crossword’s-worth of clues in one puzzle. They were very enjoyable, with some delighful abbreviations – hands, mark of the beast, only child. An inventive idea. Even when the nature of the redundant words had become clear, spotting them was not straightforward – shrapnel, particularly. The “withering glisk stead” was cute! And thanks for not torturing solvers with a tricky clue for STEDD/STEAD.
Have we had a 15 x 16 puzzle before ? This 78 clue extravaganza was a celebration of HENRYs, with the surnames, nickname/titles and in one case first name of 24 famous examples appearing as redundant words in 24 across clues. The 16 remaining across clues had no definition, their answers in clue order providing a roughly homophonic version of Sir Laurence Olivier’s famous Saint Crispin’s Day speech from the 1944 film version of Henry V.
There were 42 entries, of which only one was marked incorrect. The lucky winner was Bill Stewart, who will soon be receiving a prize donated by our sponsors Chambers Dictionaries.
A solution is now available at http://wp.me/p7qTXm-61
You still have time to submit a solution to our August competition, Extraordinary Rendition by Nutmeg.
Our September Prize Puzzle will be Farce by Yimin. As I shall be on holiday on the 1st of September the puzzle will be published on 25 August.
The 1500th Inquisitor crossword was published last month and the editor, John Henderson, wrote this article in the i.
The evolution of a weekend institution
i’s Inquisitor, one of the country’s most ingenious and teasing crosswords, celebrates its 1,500th instalment today. Its editor, John Henderson, recounts its complex history of baffling readers I t has been said that cryptic crossword compilers are an eccentric bunch. If so, perhaps public opinion is well expressed in this email, received shortly after the Inquisitor moved from The Independent to i in April 2016: “Now that I have the solution [to Inquisitor 1439: Life After Death? by Nimrod], and with the aid of an old A-Z and my microwave instructions, after two weeks I have deduced that this is not a crossword at all, but secret instructions about the invasion of Narnia by an armchair and six toothbrushes at 4am tomorrow morning, followed by cocktails on the terrace. Obviously the three ‘winners’ named are actually spies. Perhaps you would let them know that their bover is clown.” Admittedly, the reader had a point. The puzzle, involving rotation of letters in their cells, empty squares and appropriate colouring of certain areas of the solution grid, was a pretty brutal introduction for i readers to the Inquisitor. However, the winners, duly enlightened with respect to their bover, had indeed actually arrived at the correct solution. Which says something, does it not, about the Great British Solver? Specific crosswords typically evolve along similar lines to solvers. Number one in our series, in the Independent Magazine’s Independent Pursuits section of 10 September 1988, was imaginatively headed “Crossword”. Entitled “Sacrificial Pawns” by Mass, the grid was 18-by-18, numbered up to 76 and had 32 thematic entries. A bottle of champagne was the prize and the crossword occupied the whole page, with the early remit for compilers being to “supply something suitable for the additional time people were believed to have available at weekends…” For some unaccountable reason, the week after Crossword 349, “Weekend Puzzle” #1 appeared. There had been no noticeable shift in style up until this point, but it was during this series that Mike Laws took up the editorial reins, and there were various changes in appearance, prizes on offer – and name and numbering. Following Weekend Puzzle 600, we arrived at Inquisitor 1 (and a blogging spot on FifteenSquared); after 151, the correct numbering – from 1107 – was reinstated. During this time, Mike occasionally wrote (in the commentaries he originated) about a “natural development” of puzzles and contributors. I’ve been editing IQ, as it has come to be affectionately known, since Mike died in the spring of 2011. Puzzle 1175 was his last as editor, and my first. As it was a sort of joint editorial effort, I was asked to look after IQ “for a few weeks…” So, here we are at 1500, then, and we hope you enjoy SPINK’s puzzle. To celebrate, there is a separate prize, a bottle of champagne, for deducing SPINK’s identity from the following (answers to firstname.lastname@example.org): Hard surface ended insane, Start of hope with confusion to gain Provided before Uncertain mind, or I’m not sure to go after champagne
Mark Goodliffe and Simon Anthony, founders of the Magpie magazine, have started a vlog on YouTube, in which they discuss how to solve the Times crossword. Absolutely fascinating! Take a look at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC-UOdK8-mIjxBQm_ot1T-Q
I am indebted to Nick for pointing out this article on Schrödinger puzzles.
Book of the Month on the Crossword Centre is the digital edition of Chambers Crossword Dictionary. As the Kindle app is free, you can read the digital edition on any device. If you are already using this version I would appreciate your views and comments. http://amzn.to/2eWj3wp
The new message board is running well and is getting a lot of visitors. Already well over 100 people have registered as users and there are lots of interesting posts. Make sure you visit and save it in your bookmarks. http://s15.zetaboards.com/Crossword_Centre/index/
In the city of Lvov in the Ukraine a 100 foot crossword puzzle has been designed on the side of a building. Clues have been scattered around the city and at night the answers light up to reveal the solution. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1119722/The-worlds-largest-crossword-puzzle-built-100ft-tower-block-Ukraine.html
Seven years ago I edited Armchair Crosswords by Afrit and with the help of my daughter, Lucy, the book was published. In his book Afrit (A F Ritchie) had included a short introduction to the puzzles in which, for the first time, some rules of fairness in clue-writing were laid down. Any decent history of the crossword will quote from the introduction. Moreover, the crosswords are fun and can be fairly easily solved.
We published 500 copies and there are now less than 100 copies left. You can find more information at http://www.crossword.org.uk/Armchair.html
And finally, Jeff Pearce was solving puzzles in a collection of Times crosswords from 2003 when he came upon this uncanny premonition in two adjacent across answers. http://wp.me/a7qTXm-64