Getting it right (update 26 November)

The puzzle I’ve just put up today is almost exactly ten years old – from the Church Times of 1 December 2006.  My thanks to them for permission to republish.

Saturday is getting under way in the UK as I write, so there may still be time for you to try today’s Jumbo in The Times.  If you miss that then the quick cryptic there on 29 November will provide a shorter amount of sustenance, as will the daily on 6 December.

This site will get an earlier-than-usual update around the start of December, with a couple of setter’s blogs for recent Enigmatic Variations and Inquisitor puzzles.  About that time, too, the postal copies of this year’s APEX puzzle will go out to meet the last posting dates in NZ (earthquakes permitting, of course) – the e-mailed copies will go out shortly after the next formal update in a fortnight.

There has been something of a kerfuffle around Poat’s recent Listener puzzle.  I must concede that I am regularly among those who miss a subtlety in the final step, or devise a subtlety of my own.  It is often hard to divest yourself of the conviction that your solution must be right – hitting on something that works is a big obstacle to looking further for something that works slightly better.  Sometimes that ‘slightly’ feels like a hair’s-breadth of difference, too.

So in this instance – well, actually, I got it, so, yeah, I’m feeling pretty smug…  The clincher for me was the contorted wording in the preamble, with the very specific omission of a count of the number of cells involved.  Do we not usually get that?  Yes, we do.  Then it might not be cells we’re highlighting, no?

To be fair, I was only 90-95% convinced, but nothing else was reaching 60%, so off it went.  It was an attractive puzzle, after all.

I have been at the other end of the process, when a puzzle of mine generated a lot of spurious solutions – and one which I actually thought was equivalent to, but aesthetically better than, my own.  And it was marked wrong with the rest.  As the man said, the editor’s decision, however perverse, is final.

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Setter’s blog for latest Listener (update 19 November)

A brief update to note that, with the passing of the closing date, I have been able to put up a blog on the creation of A Bit Up in the Air. Blogs for last Sunday’s Enigmatic Variations puzzle, and today’s Inquisitor (which more or less share a closing date) will follow in a fortnight. […]

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Solving your own puzzle (update 13 November)

I was at a CD launch yesterday (this CD – it turned out to be the composer’s 75th birthday, as well, so we all joined in the obvious song during the wine and cheese do after the short recital by Michael Houstoun) and I found myself wondering what it must be like to hear your […]

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The GCHQ puzzle book (update 6 November)

Breaking the pattern a little to flag up my review of this new book.  A nice thing for your Christmas list, and doesn’t everyone try to get their Christmas shopping over in good time?  So you need to drop hints early. Be Sociable, Share! Tweet

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Back to Beelzebub (update 30 October)

The GCHQ Puzzle Book

More like a Northern 30 October today, though the clouds are breaking and the rain is getting warmer.  The new puzzle is another unseen Beelzebub. Before the next update, there will be a little plethora of Phi or Pedro puzzles in addition to the weekly Independent appearance – a Times Daily (3 Nov) and a […]

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Weather stops puzzle (update 16 October)

Any intention of writing something in detail about crosswords has been scotched by the fine weather today, with the garden beckoning (and hence now the muscles aching).  I have managed to put up an ‘Inquisitor’ from 2006 on the theme of musical chairs, but it’s Dialogues of the Carmelites on the radio tonight and I don’t […]

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Another quick one (update 2 October)

Rattling through things quickly today, but, in light of the November 2016 BBC Music Magazine being just out, I thought I’d find time to put up the puzzle from ten years ago (though I haven’t checked f\to see whether there are any overlaps).  I’ve also spent the morning doing the grid for the first BBC […]

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How not to add content (update 18 September)

The weekend seems to have flown by, or at least flooded given the relentless rain we’ve had since Friday.  Plenty of time to select a puzzle for uploading, and yet I carefully selected one already here.  So a last-minute recourse to the scanner for the actual new puzzle that I have finally managed to put […]

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The APEX series (update 4 September)

Somewhere in the burgeoning to-do heap near my left arm lies this year’s APEX puzzle, complete in first draft and awaiting typing up, and editing and the like.  No rush, as I will keep saying all the way up to December, by which time I won’t be able to find it.  If it weren’t for […]

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A post in the time of requests (21 March)

I have found myself gearing up to take on a couple of puzzle suggestions, which has occupied – and is occupying – my time (and is an instance of the fact that Listener numerical puzzles can be a welcome sight…).  There has also been the need to produce setter’s blogs of a number of puzzles […]

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