Update 21 September

This time there’s a new Beelzebub puzzle on the site: it’s No. 300, from 5 November 1995.  Such a coincidence of round number and significant date should not, however, lead you to expect fireworks – I was still very much engaged in finding my feet, and not really on the look-out for opportunities like this.  (A shame, perhaps – perhaps 1300 early next year will make up for it…).  Thanks as always to The Independent for permission to reprint, and look out for No. 1281 in the Independent on Sunday dated 21 September (still not, alas, available online).

Crosswords in fiction – a further sighting: I’ve just finished the ‘new’ Hercule Poirot mystery The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah.  A while since I’ve read any echt Christie, but this struck me as somewhat more convoluted than the originals, although still relying on Poirot’s keen ear for what people actually say, rather than how their other hearers interpret it.  The detective, Catchpool, turns out to be a frustrated crossword setter (at least, the context strongly hints at his constructing a diagram), and spends some time looking for a six-letter word to mean ‘death’ (which makes him sound more like a solver).  ‘Murder, mon ami,’ says Poirot – but it turns out it has to start with a D (don’t all shout at once…).  The fact that a late chapter of the book is entitled ‘If Murder began with a D’ tells you that even thius circumstance snakes its way into the plot.  The book is worth a look – a good reflection on the canon, and I didn’t spot anything that jarred anachronistically.

Look out later this week for a blog on ‘How to Solve CAT’ from the Inquisitor series earlier this month.

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Update 6 September 2014

A new Church Times puzzle for today’s update – my thanks to them for permission to republish this puzzle from 19 years ago.  But I’m still at it – there’s a new Church Times puzzle from me next week (or possibly the week after – the date that reached me isn’t actually a Friday, the […]

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Update 23 August

NeroBlanc

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 […]

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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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