In ten cases…

A few weeks before this post went up a puzzle was published that involved a theme similar to In ten cases…  As the setter in question had already published a puzzle repeating a theme of mine, I e-mailed him and asked whether he was stalking me.  (Both puzzles were from the early 1990s, which was some time before the other setter had produced any puzzles, so I think it’s safe to say he wasn’t copying!)  And, in return, he asked if I could put up my original versions.  So here’s one – perhaps the next Inquisitor I put up will be the other.

Now – repetition of themes.  It’s important to say that this isn’t copying.  Copying does occur (one day I will tell of my own experience at the hand of a copier…) but it’s very rare.  But in an area where there are word-games, puns, figures of speech and so on, it’s only too clear that the same ideas will recur.  The only really awkward situation is where similar ideas occur more or less at the same time, and that is only a real difficulty if the said puzzles are submitted to the same outlet.  2012 saw two puzzles based on the same pun from 1066 and All That (and not – I reckon – a particularly good pun, at that) – but they appeared in different outlets, and it was quite clear the editorial processes were distinct and independent.  It happens.  In much the same way as there are only N plots for novels (N varies, but I think 9 is generally accepted), the interest actually lies in how different setters approach the theme.  So, while the underlying theme of the puzzle a few weeks ago is the same as the one below, my puzzle is quite a different beastie.

Last time I put up a scan of the original magazine puzzle – and that would be a very unwise thing this time round.  The puzzle was published on 3 March 1990 with the wrong grid.  At the time the Independent classified its Magazine puzzles by the day in the month they were published – the file was called something like MagPuzzle27 or MagPuzzle12 (but never MagPuzzle46).  Ordinarily that’s not a problem, but in a non-Leap Year, the Saturdays in March have the same numbers as the Saturdays in February.  So when they hauled out MagPuzzle3, out came the grid for 3 February.  That needn’t have been a problem – generally if you have clue numbers and answer lengths you can reconstruct the grid.  But this puzzle has a theme that changes the length of some answers (given in brackets) to form the grid entry.  So the answer lengths were no help.  You have the right grid.

Changes to the clues include answer lengths presented as current practice and one clue to reflect the current edition of Chambers.  In another clue, I originally repeated a slightly questionable element of wordplay used in another clue.  I’m not generally worried about either the repetition or the slightly questionable aspect, but repeating both seemed a bit much, and as an easy rewrite came to mind I used it!  I also changed ‘per cent’ to ‘%’ – for a feature always subject to space constraints, the former is an odd house-style to insist upon.

My thanks, as always, to The Independent for permission to reuse the puzzle.  Alas the magazine puzzle has yet to appear on their website, though I see that their sister paper now has an interactive crossword on the iPad edition.

NB remember that the ellipsis in the title leads into that in the preamble.



…the answers to the clues are to be altered to form their non-existent complements.


1             Clock bearing triumphal structure, celebrating joint rule (8)

7             Head of parish has not entirely orthodox offspring (8)

10           Indicator has most of little man on (6)

12           Economic difficulty – man’s definite source of charge? (11)

13           Putty, as is removed from window-frame (6)

14           Hang about – North passed – that should make you cross! (5)

16           Rope a heartless lion-handler pulled back (5)

17           Do these longings become respected figures? (4)

19           Pipe put to edge of flame by one making light work? (8)

21           Whale not about to take description of ‘spouter’? (6)

23           Ploughs turning scratching long furrow (4)

24           The urchin one’s avoided, seen another way? (4)

26           German nobleman, initially in prison, not having left by underground passage (7)

28           Angry person returning about the mass for a second time (8)

30           Calm to be found in a couple of seas? (4)

31           Criticism applied to British low-quality housing (5)

33           Refugee from film tomb detailed to act in silent movie? (4)

34           Puts right printing unit’s odd pieces (6)

36           Sad old Wagnerian hero – one abandoned by end of Walküre (6)

37           Punched black (if a G-man) (6)

38           Gladstone’s backing former undesirable feature of London? (4)

39           Badly burn child’s meal (6)


1             __________ – i.e. study floor ineptly refitted? (12)

2             Old Indian bit round no tropical plants (6)

3             Sigh with remorse after beheading horse (4)

4             Second hill – the place for an overnight halt (5)

5             Made a call to US city interrupting following one’s language? (9)

6             General area that’s protected (3)

7             Fruit fly coming up round about most of tree (7)

8             Plan concocted by military assistant (one at the rear) (4)

9             It’s exemplified by gentleman struggling with net! (12)

11           Ay, knitter may come to try this, when at work (6)

15           English cricketer bagging duck due to opposition craft? (5)

18           Old weird sisters finally horribly gaunter (8)

20           Getting winged by tip of missile causes panic (5)

22           Man coming into football – gosh! – like a breath of cold air? (6)

25           Which Shakespearean character may ______? (6)

27           A deployment in North America is something sickening (6)

29           Certain things in Spain ain’t wrong! (5)

32           The nose of early folk, possibly 33% shorter (4)

33           Pet dog’s missing a second time (4)

35           Pulse beat? Left for dead (3)




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