Something slightly different for Easter – an Independent daily puzzle, but picked up through its appearance in the i. I don’t have a great feel for how the i sits in the UK media space, as I have seen relatively few copies. But it is a paper and has relatively little web presence as far as I can see (and can you imagine Googling it?).
It contains the Inquisitor, of course, but also has a daily crossword, with a prize edition on Saturdays. So far as I can work out, I seem to be the setter of a large proportion of the prize puzzles. The puzzles are reused from The Independent, and there is clearly an arrangement between the online-only Indy and a sort of dead-tree cousin. But the setters don’t get another fee – copyright was taken from us with first publication in The Independent. As I’ve noted before, it’s the good graces of the newspapers that allow me to republish things here, and my thanks to them.
Using i667, which appeared on 30 March 2013, allows me to point you at another solving blog – idothei (the link is to the blog for i667) who specialises in the crosswords there. The blog also links to fifteensquared and the original puzzle. Don’t click through to the specific pages till you’ve tried the puzzle. I plucked this one out of the box at random, and I have fetched up with that rare thing – a puzzle from 29 February (in this case, 2008, when it initially appeared as Independent Crossword No. 6668).
As for forthcoming puzzles – here is/are Phibre, at Christmas 2017, about the time we started discussing this week’s Listener puzzle. There followed a lot of back-and-forth emailing until Optics emerged into the light. Enjoy!
And I have a Church Times puzzle next weekend, a Times puzzle on 30 April and a Times Quick Cryptic on 2 May. Gosh, it’s a busy fortnight.
And finally, we are now well into April, with its tradition of April Foolery on the 1st, followed closely by Alan Connor bemoaning the lack of April Fool puzzles in his Guardian blog. It’s certainly the case that they have become thinner on the ground. Part of this seems to be the lack of willingness of people to be fooled – I haven’t done too many April Fool puzzles recently (it’s a bit like waiting for a leap-day puzzle), but while there have been some appreciative comments, others have grumbled about it not being what they expected from their daily fix.
That can’t be helped, I guess – not everyone appreciates the April Fool jokes where some major car company says they’re introducing a model with a fitted toaster, or some such. There is of course a second reason why April Fool puzzles may be becoming rarer – it gets harder for me (at least) to come up with ideas (almost as bad as Christmas, in fact). We need new perpetrators.