Update 23 August

It being the Proms season in London, time for a BBC Music Magazine crossword.  My thanks to them for permission to republish.

Last weekend saw one of Wellington’s big second-hand book sales of the year – always worth a look, as not everything has been transported to e-format.  And look at what was lurking on the Games and Puzzles table:

Ximenes

It’s clearly been left on a shelf where the sun just reaches.  No puzzles solved, which is one of the reasons it’s pristine.  My old copy proved to have indifferent glue down the spine, and opening it to solve the puzzles meant that pages tended to drift out in clumps, there being no system of signatures to hold them there.  Which presents a problem if I want to solve them again…

In the Mystery section I happened upon:

NeroBlanc

I had heard of this husband-and-wife partnership (Nero Blanc is merely ‘black’ and ‘white’ in various languages – an obvious pseudonym, Watson…) but not read any of their output, so I may report back in due course.  I haven’t read any US crossword mystery novels since one of the Herbert Resnicow (I think that’s the name) series a couple of decades ago.  (I recall the murder method in that case involving the use of a Rossini curl as a blowpipe, so I hope this is somewhat better.)

Yes, that is the infamous Chambers 13th in the background.  It would be the 13th, of course, to have the misfortune that has befallen.  All the ‘favourite words’ highlighted in the 12th edition have been omitted – it does look as if the instruction to ‘remove the highlighting’ has been interpreted as ‘remove the highlighted words’.  Since these often quirky entries were a major selling-point for Chambers – and not all the words involved were obscure, by any means – it is unthinkable that they intended to remove them.  But there they aren’t, and the question is what to do.  The Beelzebub series does not identify a specific reference, but Chambers lurks in the background.  However, the absence of such a recommendation may give slightly more flexibility in that we can simply carry on as before – words will be findable in a recent edition of a major dictionary, be it Collins, ODE or Chambers, 2009, 2010, 2011 or whenever.  What is interesting now to contemplate is what Chambers will do to address the issue.  It’s not as if dictionaries haven’t had misprints before (I think C once omitted ‘identify’ or similar) – it’s the scale of the mishap.  A huge number of words remains, of course, but one cannot imagine Chambers without TAGHAIRM (see 12th edition for details).

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Update 10 August

Back to putting up another puzzle after last time’s computer problems.  As promised, I’ve gone back to 1995 and pulled out the Independent Saturday Magazine crossword I did then on Tom Swifties.  (Thanks as always to the Independent for permission to republish.)  Unlike the Inquisitor earlier this year where the use of the particular type of […]

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Update 27 July

…is not an update, alas, due to computer problems.  I can only do so much via the iPad when the material I need is on the big machine!  Back to normal service soon, I hope. Be Sociable, Share! Tweet

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Update July 12

No puzzle this week, but there’s an article on ‘ghost themes’ which you might want to read prior to tackling my Independent puzzle on Tuesday.  I’ll provide explanations in a post next week!  There’s a Toughie coming on Thursday next week as well, and Thursday also sees the appearance of a blog on my recent […]

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Update 6 July

I don’t generally do an intermediate update, but there’s been a been a bit more activity than usual and a forthcoming puzzle to mention. So: this week has seen the arrival of a setter’s blog for The Man with a Gun and a book review.  Coming up is another setter’s blog (for Bang!), which should go live on […]

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Update 28 June

Back to putting up a puzzle – my thanks to the Independent for permission to reprint this puzzle from 1995. There’ll be a couple of additional items on the blog before the next formal update.  There’ll be two setter’s blogs, one for last week’s Inquisitor puzzle in The Independent (The Man with a Gun) and […]

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Update 15 June

Back to putting up a puzzle this week.  I received an email from a couple of solvers who made a suggestion regarding a puzzle idea, and I realised I’d done something like that already.  So here it is – it’s an Enigmatic Variations puzzle from late 2007.  If you enjoy it you should go off […]

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Update 2 June

A day or so late – my excuse is that it’s a holiday weekend here in NZ.  But also… Some years ago I received a note from Harold Massingham (Mass) in which he apologised for its brevity, but he was deep in preparing grids for some twenty barred thematic puzzles (after which he would clue […]

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Update 17 May

Still trying to get back into the swing of things, so I thought I’d settle for a straightforward plain.  My eye was guided to it by remembering a comment on fifteensquared that one solver had never seen Phi use a grid where lights had more unchecked letters than checked.  So here you are…except it may be […]

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Update 4 May

I found myself worrying yesterday that I wasn’t going to have time to select and type up a puzzle this time, until I realised that I had promised the Apex 2013 puzzle around now.  And that, fortunately, was more or less sitting there ready to be transferred on to the site.  So now I can […]

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