A toehold in February

February 2019 won’t rank highly on my list of favourite months – all a bit hectic in various ways.  Apologies for missing a slot a fortnight ago, but I have a new puzzle up this time.  I thought I’d unearth an actual Beelzebub puzzle this time round – it’s from September 2002 and, though I say it as shouldn’t, I thought it was quite good.  I shall resume using the unpublished ones next time Beelzebub comes up on the roster.

APEX participants have started voting.  It’s always my favourite part of it, watching how the points accumulate.  We had a bit of a false start this year, as the discontinuance of my usual email address led to a couple of submissions going astray.  Despite some comments from the people involved that there was no need to include the lost clues, they weren’t up to much, please don’t put yourself out etc. etc…well, they’re both in the lists now, and garnering points.  If you’re in the group and haven’t voted yet, the deadline is March 31, and there’ll be a reminder or two sent out before then.  Meanwhile revisit some of the older puzzles now enshrined on the site.

Roy Dean, who died aged 91 on Christmas Day, dropped out of the APEX group a few years ago, when he felt no longer able to participate.  I thought this a shame as Roy at half-power was quite the match for anyone else at full.  He is one of the few crossword setters who appears on my CD shelves, which gives you an idea of his versatility.

February was quite a full month for Phi puzzles – and there’s still one (OK, a Pedro puzzle) to appear in the Times Quick Cryptic slot on the last day of the month.  It has a successor exactly three weeks later on March 21.  In between there may be a Magpie puzzle at the start of the month – precise month not advised to me when the proofs came in a while ago.  Subscribers should keep checking the Magpie website for the March issue, as there have been some issues with sending out the monthly notifications (said he, speaking as a victim of said issues).

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