Getting things up promptly this weekend with a view to clearing the decks before hieing off to Kansas City. The new puzzle is an Independent prize crossword from March 1998, which I hope got a lot of entries because it struck me as very much at the easy end of my spectrum. I’ve always found it hard to judge the difficulty of my puzzles as I set them, but perhaps this one is far enough back in the day to be an easier assessment.
There are the usual Independent puzzles forthcoming while the Times is also providing you with a couple of mine: the Jumbo on 14 April, and a puzzle from Pedro in the Quick Cryptic slot on 17 April.
Meanwhile, how are you getting on with Top Twenty in the Crossword Club magazine. Given that it is a puzzle that lays out its theme pretty overtly, I can offer you some images from a recent trip to Featherston, a small town just north of here, on the far side of the Rimutaka hills. It grew as a place to stay and recover from or prepare for what was quite a trek in the old days (it’s still quite a bracing drive today). The loss of the carriage trade (as it were) has led to the town reinventing itself as a sort of Hay-on-Wye, with regular book festivals, and increasing numbers of specialist shops (one of the few places where you can get a decent range of cheese – Wensleydale, Gromit!). There is also a huge second-hand shop with a wide range of unexpected articles (a weighing machine for cattle, for instance) including:
So we took a closer look:
As far as I can tell (and thank you, Wikipedia) the selection of music on show puts this jukebox as last active in around 1984 (Ghostbusters was released that year, while I can find other discs from 1982 and 1983). But you can see the sort of thing I have in mind in the puzzle, itself from 1983!
More on revisiting old puzzles in the next blog from Missouri.