The Blogpaws Conference

Here we are in sunny (at times relentlessly sunny) Phoenix, Arizona, sat in direct line of the air-conditioning to offset the dawn heat (30C – it never even reaches 30C in Wellington).  Last day of the conference today, and I’m picking up some ideas to implement over the next few posts.

It’s an eclectic bunch at the conference, mostly female, mostly dogs.  This doesn’t quite, I think, proportionately represent pet ownership in the US, but I think Blogpaws started out on the dog side of things.  One lady brought her ferrets, and they are the reason the conference never goes to California (apparently ferrets are banned there) – next year it’s Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Plenty of costumes (dogs and people) and quite a bit of ‘trade’, revealing a variety of things we never hear about in New Zealand.  Marjorie will be blogging away about things for months.

Memorable hazard: striding out of the lift straight into a 7-foot walking dog biscuit, which (who?) was being guided along by a pleasant lady because (as far as I could see) the costume had no eyeholes.  S/he/it turned up at a trade stall later, and people posed for photographs with a blind dog biscuit.

Enough for now, back with some crossword-related stuff when I amass a bit more.  Here’s a few pictures:

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At our first hotel, the Saguaro, Scottsdale.  That, I think, is a saguaro cactus behind us.  I hope I don’t give too much away in advance if I note that it’s a bu**er to clue.

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Old town Scottsdale

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Behind the Saguaro is the local contemporary art museum, which has this familiar symbol in its collection.

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Sunset from our Phoenix hotel window (plus annoying lens effect)

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Hotel architecture

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Another cactus (or possibly two)

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Clueing your own name (update 11 June)

The puzzle this week is from the BBC Music Magazine and my thanks to them for permission to republish.  2002 is a year I haven’t investigated much, but I do seem to have landed on yet another August issue.  This must come from my opening the boxfile and sticking my hand in somewhere around the middle… […]

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Memory and Ninas (update 29 May)

I almost prepared a puzzle to go up today, but thought at the last minute to check the relevant page on the site – sure enough, I’d already picked it, and its neighbour. Pshaw! I thought, and prepared the next one I had on my list.  Which once again it was a puzzle I had already […]

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A new Beelzebub (update 15 May)

As promised, I am putting up one of the several completed Beelzebub puzzles that haven’t seen the light of day.  This one very nearly made it (there was an early proof), but in the end was replaced by the ‘special’ I produced containing the names of all the setters. I have something like a dozen in […]

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The annual APEX (update 1 May)

Even allowing for the most desultory postal messages, the results should have reached participants by now, so I can put up the annual puzzle that got the site and blog started in the first place: the 2015 edition of the APEX Christmas Crossword.  You can click through to the solution, and at the bottom of […]

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The consequences of change (update 17 April)

Well, if I’m going to start titling these updates then occasionally something portentous-sounding will emerge. This time the puzzle is an Independent daily from 2005.  It doesn’t feel entirely like one of mine – far too many cryptic definitions, for one thing – but I seem to have been paid for it! The Independent daily […]

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Return to normal (update 2 April)

Well, let’s try to anyway, with a puzzle from the Enigmatic Variations series – thanks to the Sunday Telegraph for permission to share it with you. Sunday – ah, yes, still no sign of a resurgent Beelzebub.  The Guardian crossword blog commented thus this week, though I can’t say that they got my best side […]

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The Beelzebub Crossword (update 20 March)

Here we are on 20 March, the last day of publication for the paper edition of The Independent on Sunday, and the first edition, I think, in which there has not been a Beelzebub crossword.  There is, I’m told, a blocked grid puzzle from Don Manley, who did No. 1 back in the first issue. […]

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Beelzebub crossword

News is still not 100% clear but it does look as if the Beelzebub crossword is the most endangered of the Independent stable.  There is to be a puzzle on 13 March (which commemorates the four setters over the years – see if you can spot them) but the solution is elsewhere in the same […]

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More on The Independent Crosswords (aka Update 5 March)

This time there’s a puzzle from the BBC Music Magazine of April 2005.  It’s the 150th in the series, and I thought it might be interesting to put it up as no. 300 is on the horizon.  Though as I’m only working on No. 295 at the moment, a direct 150-to-300 could have waited till […]

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