Puzzle of the Year of the…

This puzzle is Independent Magazine Crossword No. 156 from 31 August 1991.  It’s self-evidently commemorating an anniversary, though I guess it’s not one that will have stuck in people’s minds!  It’s not quite the same as the day it was first published – one clue has had to be changed to reflect a subsequent historical event, and I also have restored what seemed to be a missing word in the published version.  And I have, just this once (famous last words….), edited a clue just to make it read more smoothly to my two decades’ older eye.

The clue gimmick, wherein some letters are omitted from secondary indications, is a useful way to highlight any hidden message that doesn’t follow nice linear trajectories.  It also affords new ways of clueing words that come round time and again – e.g. for one time only you can clue ETUI and forget about the U.  (Although I should make it clear that no etuis were invoked, let alone harmed, in the setting of this puzzle.)

My thanks to The Independent once again for permission to reproduce this puzzle.  The Inquisitor series (of which this is a forerunner) has moved inside the paper itself (as from some time in April 2013), so it is no longer The Independent Magazine Crossword.  But for old time’s sake (and sheer weight of historical numbers), I’ll stick to my nomenclature on the site.  Anyone who can get hold of a paper copy of The Independent may find the puzzle (though I am only inferring this from a series of undemanding jokes about it not looking too well) under the weather.   It is, however, still not available online.


1d 9d (7,5,12) provides the reason for the puzzle and the Year.  In addition, in 22 clues the secondary indication (e.g. anagram) omits reference to one or more letters in the defined answer (which is what is entered in the grid).  These letters trace out in the grid a relevant quotation.  29d is a prefix (in Chambers).   21a, 22a and 2d are proper nouns. 5d is in the OED as the noun needed here, although Chambers contains an adjectival meaning.


1          Man with name for more than one woman (4)

4          Pungent vegetable – cooked lots each (8)

10        Bad vibes about most of constant interrupting (9)

11        Act in pantomime – goose’s role? (4)

12        Birds – eliminating the swine will take ages (4)

14        Praise half-eaten Spanish dish (5)

15        Old money organised for investment in soccer team (5)

19        Is lofted club something useful for chips? (7)

21        Circle obscure Danish port (6)

22        US film OGPU drilling last of G-men (6, 2 words)

23        What mother proverbially drinks to keep back black periods? (6)

24        Old menu – one attending to needs of body and soul (6)

26        Is able to hang around endlessly for card game (7)

28        Love redirected attention? Many speakers do  (5)

31        Anglo-Saxon council – a Norman’s first to get behind it (5)

33        Hit the Queen (or any Royal Family member) (4)

34        Backing in the style of French madrigal (4)

35        Dose of radiation (not initially big) causing bell to ring? (9)

36        Old manor grounds have lake swathed in sun (8)

37        You may see her in amatory dalliance, on reflection (4)


2          French poet in duel, wounded, clutching most of limb (6)

3          Reputation held up one ambassador’s title (4)

4          English employer importing Italy’s woodworkers (8)

5          Sets up ancient homes for pigs (5)

6          Produce King Charles’s love (4)

7          Fool playing Shakespeare’s leading character (3)

8          Almost finished Northern part of range (4)

13        Clever device almost takes in one bloke, according to locals (6)

16        Answer in the manner of a salesman? (5)

17        German golfer coming up in a commanding position (6)

18        Local one to remove lid? (5)

20        Clarinettists etc. intended to, judging by the sound (8)

25        About to get in snow vehicle, having climbed hill? (6)

27        African tyrant’s management, in brief (5)

29        Bits of resistance hinder even oscillating current when compounded (4)

30        A vacuum in Spain (4)

32        Sundry junk one collected for so long (4)

33        Name to come first (3)

PDF of puzzle



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