Looking back again

Hard on the heels of thinking back to the first days of the Inquisitor in 1988, I find myself with the appearance of a puzzle completed in 1993.  Animotion, appearing in CROSSWORD magazine, is a collaboration with Dafydd Price Jones (hence Hellebore and Phi combining as Hellphire) and dates from 9 February, 1993.  There may be a setter’s blog, if not a setters’ blog, next month.  I did find some of the original submission had come with me to New Zealand, so I can reconstruct enough to provide a ‘Making Of…’ feature!

So I thought I’d dig out a puzzle from that era for this week’s addition to the site.  It’s an Independent daily, no. 2080 from 19 June, 1993.  Even then I was recording completion dates, so I see that this puzzle rolled off the production line (well, it feels like that sometimes) on 22 February that year.  I was only doing the Independent daily on a fortnightly basis at the time: however, while I can find another puzzle dating from the end of January, the puzzle that should have appeared more or less contemporaneously with Animotion still eludes me.

Also looking back, I have managed to miss a local crossword date of significance, even though I had it noted down. As I’ve mentioned before, the New Zealand Herald has a stiffer-than-average puzzle every Saturday, and that reached its 1000th puzzle a few days ago.  Sadly it’s not on the newspaper’s webpages, although this interview with its creator is.  (Note the obligatory lame attempt at a crossword clue for the headline.)  I can also point you to Rex’s Facebook page.

By the time this goes up, you will have a Listener puzzle to do (and it will not save you to turn aside to the Times Jumbo that day…) with a Times cryptic on 12 August and a Times Quick Cryptic on 18 August also appearing before the next update.  And while 1300 is not a usual number to commemorate, this Friday’s Independent daily hits that number for me.

The Times upgraded its Crossword Club site this week (a message arrived overnight), and I am thus doubly blessed in having two puzzles on the first day of operation (if operation is the word I want, after spending twenty minutes trying to log in to see my own puzzles).  It doesn’t look too bad, and people will adjust, but it does seem to be an example of designer’s curse (‘This will look wonderful, so I’ll update it immediately, and everyone will be tremendously pleased.  Oh, they aren’t…’)

If you’re feeling adventurous, give Nicola Barker’s new novel H(A)PPY a whirl, though you will have to read it in colour, and if you’re nervous around experiments in typography, then you will be nervous.  (And I didn’t pay anything in product placement.)

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