I promised another favourite puzzle from a single weekend, and here it is. Calling it a second favourite is a temporal ranking only! As I said last time, setters can be conflicted about identifying puzzles as favourites. But it has to be said that coming up with this idea, and steering it through creation to publication was immensely satisfying. It is, be warned, a very tough puzzle, which may be why there were few comments at the fifteensquared blog. But they are very satisfying comments – and the blogger has done a damn sight better solution grid than I have! My own setter’s blog (with photos) is here.
Recommendations of the week: do not contract a bad cold and simultaneously reactivate an old back injury. It makes for a very depressing week. On the brighter side, you realise that ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’ may have other interpretations.
Also on the bright side: the receipt of a letter that clearly contained a cheque. A sterling cheque, sent in a letter which cost £1.25 (that’s a pound sign, in case it doesn’t make it through to the published page) – to the value of one penny. It’s not even as if anyone asked me for my thoughts on this. The letter came with an “Our Ref” that was also quite remarkable (on the assumption that the original characters represent people’s names, I am anonymising things somewhat; heck, even the reference numbers are anonymised):
ABC/DEF/GHI/JKL/MNO/PQRST/UVW / 022255-4 / / 6291.
More than a pennyworth of ink just printing that I shouldn’t wonder.
Someone has noted what I hope is only the occasional typo, and has asked if I want to be told about them. And the answer is yes. I type a lot of these in from paper copies and while my spelling hasn’t deteriorated over the years, the ability to hit the right keys at the speed I type is not as good as it was. I hope I spot the red-underlined stuff (ignoring the depredations of an American spellchecker, natch – cheque, ha!), but other things slip through (one that was spotted was ‘talking’ for ‘taking’, for example). So please let me know and I’ll get round to updating things, probably in tandem with one of these blogs. The same goes for any dodgy links – I had a page link to itself the other week, which someone kindly pointed out.
Upcoming puzzle: a quiet start to the month, though there’s a Times puzzle on Monday 4 November. Proofs came in this week for an Inquisitor later in November and an Enigmatic Variations not too long before Christmas – more on those as they draw nearer.