The puzzle this time is one of my Beelzebub puzzles.
I do now have a third crossword centenary book: Alan Connor’s Two Girls, One on Each Knee. It’s another book that really works best as something you dip into, rather than read through. So there’ll be a review, just not yet. It doesn’t help that I have been seduced away from cruciverbal reading by Mark Forsyth’s The Elements of Eloquence – a book that works its way through more rhetorical tropes than you thought existed (let me just check how many of them are in Chambers…). If you’ve read his first book (The Etymologicon), this is of a similar quality, and better, I think, than its immediate predecessor The Horologicon. Admittedly he misses the wonderful clue ‘To be or not to be, that is the… (11)’ in the relevant chapter, but that is a small blemish.
What? Yes, ‘(11)’ is correct.
There is an unsettling experience in solving puzzles that reared its occasional head for me this weekend. I glanced at a thematic puzzle, and took a wild guess at the theme purely from its enumeration. Wholly wrong, of course, but the mistaken theme (not a particularly common phrase, but not especially obscure, either) promptly turned up as an ordinary answer in another puzzle. There again, there are often weeks in a row when you can’t summon such fortune.
You will find me supplying the Telegraph Toughie on Tuesday 19 November, while The Independent offering on Friday 22 November might just prompt a setter’s blog here.