Update 15 May 2015

Slightly earlier than usual, occasioned by being warned off trying to get into Wellington after some truly torrential rain.  We had 123mm yesterday (more than the average for May altogether) – and 63 of them arrived in the two hours just before lunch.  By chance I had the day off, so I wasn’t stranded in town when all the rail network went down, and most of the roads were blocked by landslip or flood.  The stream through our back garden was as high as I’d ever seen it, and the Hutt river was lapping at its banks (Marjorie has a video of it here).  If anything the river was slightly higher today, as the run-off from the hills continued (by contrast, the stream is still fast, but much lower and clearer).  Today has seen so far only a bit more rain while the railway was inspected, and finally reopened at around 4 pm.  Not great for commuting, though people stranded yesterday have been able to get home at last.  There was an informal Facebook network of spare beds offered, while the council opened one floor of the library overnight for those who were really stuck.

I also wanted to get in early to put down a reminder about puzzles this weekend: the Independent Inquisitor on Saturday 16th, and the Sunday Telegraph Enigmatic Variations on 17th May.  Blogs of these will follow as their closing dates pass.  And the following weekend sees a Thursday Telegraph Toughie, a Friday Independent daily, a Saturday Times Jumbo and a Sunday Beelzebub.

The puzzle this time is from the period when the BBC Music Magazine called its puzzle Enigma Variations.  I had pencilled in my calendar to select a puzzle from my 2008 box, but I checked and saw that I had already been rather profligate with 2008 BBC puzzles, and so jumped smartly five years back in history.

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Update 10 May

I’m breaking the publication pattern because just after I put up last week’s post, I received the proofs for the Inquisitor on Saturday 16 May, with apologies for the short notice.  This sparked not only proof-reading, but also clue-writing for its successor, and gridding for its successor’s successor.  And a headcold (well, perhaps not the […]

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Update 3 May

The puzzle this time is the annual appearance of the APEX puzzle from the previous year.  The group of regular solvers has been through the solving and the ensuing clueing contest, so I can now present the puzzle and the winning clues.  It was not, shall we say, the most popular word I’ve handed out for […]

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Update 18 April

This time there’s a Beelzebub puzzle from 2008.   I’ve also reneged on my statement last time, and rejigged the schedule to bring the 2014 Apex puzzle forward to the next update.  Meanwhile, since I was last here I’ve had an exchange of e-mails with an American constructor of what are called variety cryptics, and […]

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Update 5 April

Rattling through various things this Easter weekend, not least the Apex results, scheduled to come out Tuesday evening Wellington time (or perhaps Wednesday, depending on how much time I want to leave after posting the ordinary mail ones).  Meanwhile the Apex 2014 puzzle itself should appear on the site on the weekend of 16 May, […]

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Update 22 March

Here we are again, this time with an Independent daily puzzle from 2008.  My thanks to them for permission to republish. I’ve spent part of this weekend being thankful I don’t get too many ideas that require a circular grid.  However, after a munging together of output from a grid-drawing program and the use of […]

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Update 8 March

A puzzle from the BBC Music Magazine this time – my thanks to them for permission to republish. I did promise to say something about Testament.  There was an absolute storm of one emailed comment, and nothing at all on the site itself.  (But in all seriousness thank you to the one person who did […]

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Update 27 February

I don’t usually break the fortnightly pattern, but I thought I should wish ‘Bon appetit’ to the Listener Crossword Dinner in Harrogate this weekend .  I can’t keep up a run of spa towns after last year’s visit to Cheltenham.  Our Saturday evening will be the start of a Freddy Kempf Beethoven concerto cycle instead. […]

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Update 21 February

The puzzle this week is a 1997 Enigmatic Variations barred thematic – my thanks to The Telegraph for permission to republish. And before I plunge into the remainder of the post, let me add that the Inquisitor on February 28 is by me. No crosswords in The Theory of Everything, but I thought it a far better film […]

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Update 8 February

Here we are in the long weekend for NZ’s Waitangi Day.  I’m also now on leave for a few days, so of course I have hardly any time… The puzzle this week is a Beelzebub from 1997.  I plunged my hand into the 1997 boxfile and selected one more or less from the middle (July, […]

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