APEX 20th Anniversary Puzzle

Score-board (or A Vast Narrow V) is a rare puzzle – I don’t know that it’s been seen by anyone not at the dinner at White’s Hotel, London, on 12 October 1991 that was held to commemorate 20 years of the APEX (A Puzzle Every Xmas) crossword – 20-30 people, I think it was.  (Actually, looking at my records it probably did have a wider circulation, as there’s an A4 version in a different layout that I suspect was made available later.)  But the version in the pdf on this page comes from the menu of the dinner that night, and very nicely laid out (by Brian Head of The Crossword Club) it is too..  Once you see the puzzle, you’ll appreciate it would form quite a large web page (it’s just possible the preamble is longer than the clues, though I haven’t checked), so the use of the pdf is justified, I think.  The solution page is a bit tidier, and you won’t need to contact the Crossword Club!

I can’t now recollect how it came to be that I was asked to set it, or perhaps I volunteered.   In any case, the puzzle was consciously created using a range of Eric Chalkley’s common treatments.  The border with omitted corner squares, the pairs of omitted letters for which you were given Playfair equivalents, the use of the initials of solvers’ names to provide material for the wordplay, the mix of clue types: all of these were typical of Eric’s puzzles.  I even essayed a few Printer’s Devilry clues, which I don’t really enjoy writing – for some reason I took on a 13-letter word for the PD treatment, which I doubt I’ll do again…  Playfair-haters will have no difficulty finding the codeword by other means, as there’s a through thematicism that was also something Eric strove for.

The dinner was, of course, a Christmas dinner, even though it was October.  It’s A Puzzle Every Xmas, after all.




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