It occurred to me today that I will have to write a setter’s blog for the recent Enigmatic Variations puzzle Uncommon Happiness – and then it also dawned on me that the pre-Christmas Inquisitor The Hard Stuff was also in need of treatment. I think I rather lost track of the closing date for the December puzzle – the Independent did have a habit of having Christmas closing dates that bore no awareness of the reality of posting things during the holiday period (one year I think the only way to beat the deadline was to visit the office in person and hand it to the security guard).
They’ll both be along later in the week, once the closing date for the EV has passed.
The Hard Stuff was noted as being the IQ puzzle of 2017 that the team thought easiest, while I also supplied Bookshelf, the one considered hardest in its published form. Nice to keep people on their toes. Bookshelf came in eighth in the IQ of the Year table, and will appear here in due course, no doubt. It therefore seems reasonable to have an IQ as this time’s puzzle, but I’m delving further back – to 1999, in fact, when the IQ was called simply ‘crossword’ (using an e e cummings typeface). It’s called Middle Eights.
My usual Friday Independent slot will be augmented by a parallel appearance in The Times on February 2nd, after which I shall be back with another puzzle here.