The new material this fortnight is my first puzzle for the Church Times, dating from 1989. I haven’t had time to add anything elsewhere, and the next puzzle update will also need quite a bit of time to prepare. I do have my eye on the approaching Christmas holidays for expanding some thoughts on clueing.
Meanwhile I have acquired some mots croisés of Georges Perec. Perec was a French writer associated with Oulipo, a group which (as that Wikipedia entry attests) explored various approaches to constrained writing techniques. Perec himself produced a startling example in the novel translated as A Void – a book without the letter E (except, alas, in its authors name). It is well worth seeking out in Gilbert Adair’s virtuoso translation, the paperback of which came with a suitably lipogrammatic blurb. I particularly recall the e-less version of Poe’s The Raven, done in the correct metre and with more than a touch of Poe’s rather grandiose style – but never a glimpse of the ‘black bird’ quoting ‘Nevermore’ of course.
Sadly my French isn’t even good enough to penetrate Perec’s introduction on the art of French crossword-setting without persistent recourse to Google translate so I doubt I shall be tackling many of the puzzles. First clue in the book:
Elle ne se rase pas dans les fêtes foraines
French for ‘bearded lady’, I’d guess – but I’d be wrong (says he, checking the answer page).
The book is available from amazon.co.uk, and reasonably priced (you even get threepence off).