Start of the year

Here in New Zealand we are in the throes of summer, and even days where the forecast has been rather threatening in terms of clouds have turned out to be rather splendid.  This rather limits the motivation for blogging.  Today we went over to the Wairarapa district, stopping off at the local cheese emporium (which has the shop in its old location, though they have only moved next door!) in the book town of Featherston (UK readers think Hay-on-Wye) before moving over to Martinborough to visit a favourite vineyard.

So limited time therefore to blog this weekend…  What we have this time is a puzzle that sort of emerged as a result of a blogger’s grumble about the limited range of themes hitherto seen in the Independent.  Check out the fifteensquared blog here (but solve the thing first!).

Be careful what you wish for, and I’ve just jotted down a thematic idea for later in 2019 as a result of putting this one up.  You have been warned.  The thematic element in today’s Independent puzzle is much less evident.

And consider yourselves also warned of a forthcoming Times puzzle on 18 January, as well as the usual Friday Independent appearances.

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