The Apex 2018 puzzle

The regular participants have been notified, so I can now put up the APEX puzzle from last Christmas.  Remember that there was a clue-writing contest associated with the puzzle – the winning clues are appended to the end of the solution notes.

Without wishing always to take the text for the day from a recent Guardian blog – well, the latest blog was about symmetry.  I have already put up a page about symmetry in 2014, so it’s easy enough to point you at it.  Anyone who has some very old copies of One Across (from the days when it was edited by the late great Mike Rich) will have another set of thoughts on the topic from me (I haven’t kept a copy myself) – I hope they’re consistent!  We can deduce, therefore, that the “do we need symmetry?” debate will run and run.  My confident 2014 statement that you could not get an asymmetrical grid into a daily paper is wrong – there are a couple such grids among those for the Times Quick Cryptic puzzle.  And there should be a Phi Independent puzzle with just the tiniest asymmetry before too long (June, I shouldn’t wonder).

Unless it ends up in the i.  There is a developing situation, as of this week, whereby the i has started publishing new puzzles, rather than recycling five-or-six-year-old ones from The Independent.  So I believe some of my puzzles may end up there as well.  From this side of the planet, I can’t get a decent grip on what’s happened – some agreement between the papers should have been renewed, and has not been, is about the best I can determine.  So while you have a nice Nina in the Friday Phi for 3 May, you may also see a ghost theme in the i on Saturday.  Or perhaps another day.  Please let me know!

There is also a Toughie from Kcit next Thursday (9 May), and (a little more certainty here) an Inquisitor in the i on Saturday 18 May.  That’s the weekend of my next update, but here it is just in case I don’t get round to the site till the Sunday.

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