Unusually we have a lawn turning brown. This doesn’t often happen (indeed the parts nearer the foot of the hill sometimes remain sticky all year), and to see it before Christmas is very rare indeed. The stream (see last post) isn’t especially low yet, but the ongoing lack of rain, apart from a very sparse shower overnight, is leading to threats of water restrictions, and soon.
Christmas crosswords are beginning to appear, but the flow isn’t greatly under way yet. I’m aiming to circulate the APEX puzzle, my own contribution to the heap, this coming Wednesday evening (NZ time – Wednesday morning for most recipients). This gets it out of the way before a little rush of puzzles this week: a Telegraph Toughie on Thursday 14th, the usual Independent on Friday 15th (but the following week sees me move from Friday to the following Sunday; I can’t imagine why…), and an Inquisitor and the Times competition puzzle on Saturday 16th. Meanwhile, we have a Nina-riddled puzzle added to the site this time.
I commend for your attention the Guardian crossword blog, which I try to keep up with most weeks, or at least within the fortnight… The one I’ve linked throws up the fascinating concept of a graphic novel about crosswords. The website Alan Connor points you at was somewhat frustrating for us overseas aficionados – the promised ebook link didn’t work, so it seems reasonable to point out that Amazon.com is perfectly usable (and the page has just alerted me to a new Roz Chast book!) I haven’t indulged yet…
The availability of publications in this new ‘connected’ age is regularly frustrating, in fact. I recently received a Facebook notification regarding an Alan Turing puzzle book – only to find it was available from a site that only had the dead tree edition, and only delivered to UK addresses. The book itself was raising money for charitable causes in Africa – but Heaven forfend that any Africans should want to see the book itself. The gremlin, of course, is the internecine copyright act – there will be a version available in 2018 (here it is), but it is being released at different dates in different territories. What was that about trying to reduce internet piracy again?
Of course, this isn’t solely a puzzle book phenomenon. I’m regularly surprised by the different dates for the release of electronic and paper editions of modern novels – a recent example was out in ebook in early November, and had a paper publication date of March next year (though the airport paperback version is in local bookstores now). Nor is the chaos confined to new publications – if I have any Canadian readers, please note that I will happily reimburse you for a Kindle with the 11 novels of Robertson Davies on it (3.66667 trilogies, only available electronically in his home country). My suspicion there is that Penguin had reissued them in a new printing just before the ebook trend took off, and aren’t reinvesting any time soon.
OK, rant over. I shall look out something unusual for next time as a seasonal surprise.