…though I was hoping to get the post and puzzle up yesterday. However, the oncoming threat of the remains of Cyclone Debbie (which has just assailed Queensland before heading back out over the Tasman) led me to mow the lawns. We aren’t getting the really bad weather (though folks in Hawkes Bay are rushing to get their grapes in nonetheless), but three days of warm and wet will render the grass unmanageable far too early in autumn.
[You can’t help but feel that cyclone/typhoon/hurricane namers should sit down with the Chambers Appendix and choose suitably stormy names. Cyclone Debbie actually sounds almost benign, which isn’t exactly how she turned out. And Storm Doris hit the UK in February, though the relative infrequency of storms there means they didn’t reach Storm Nigel in 15-16, and Storm Wilbert this season is an overly remote possibility. The alternating alphabeticism does start to hint at a puzzle idea, though…]
The puzzle this time is an Inquisitor from 1991, though it feels more recent. I put it up in contrast to the Kcit Enigmatic Variations puzzle appearing in the Sunday Telegraph on 2 April – there will, of course, be a blog on that in due course.
Colin Dexter died recently, depriving us of another significant cruciverbal figure. I still recall trying to hold a conversation with him at a party in Oxford (it might have been an anniversary of Don Manley’s) without either of us getting very far since he was very deaf, and thus unaware of the background noise that was bothering me. There are two Hendersons among the characters in the TV adaptations: a Manley and Henderson open the batting in a cricket match, while the two murder victims in a later episode are Grimshaw and Henderson. It would be nice to think I caught his eye. Nina-watchers should keep their eyes out in the Independent in a few weeks.
The APEX votes are in (probably…) – for a while it looked like the first clue submitter was also going to be the last voter, but the fact that America is later getting through March than most of us meant that two votes from there came in on Saturday. (Given that the end of March is so often in the midst of various daylight saving changes around the globe, I have no intention of being doctrinaire about the implied ‘midnight on March 31’ closing date!) Hope to get something out in a few hours, though postal recipients (who presumably aren’t reading this) will have to wait till I can get some stamps before their copies go off!
Other forthcoming puzzles are in the Times, a full daily on Wednesday 5 April, and a Quick Cryptic on Spy Wednesday. Hoping to get a Jumbo up on this site for Easter weekend, time permitting.