Here in New Zealand the 250th anniversary of the arrival of Captain Cook has been met with a range of responses. There’s a lot of talk about colonialism and imperialism, and the Governor-General has issued an apology for the killing of members of the indigenous population by Cook’s sailors. There’s a good range of points of view here:
(Rather implausibly, Salmond’s book was turned into an opera in 2008.)
It’s an odd area for a crossword to stray into, but the coincidence of the anniversary falling on a Sunday was too great to overlook, so I looked out some purely descriptive thematic material, specifically around the location, taking care to use both M?ori and English names.
Part of the work involved finding thematic material of the same length so that the grid would be square. This isn’t actually required of course, but it’s interesting that the desire persists. It allowed me to get something close to 4-way symmetry, which perhaps was also a problem as the grid was close to four separate puzzles.
The removal of a letter (to be determined) to a perimeter column or row was very much a technique used by Schadenfreude (or Oxymoron in the Enigmatic Variations series) and while I don’t intend to use it regularly (although that depends on the ideas that occur to me, I suppose), it seemed right to use it in the wake of his passing.
The inclusion of some M?ori raised its own issues since I clearly couldn’t rely on English-speaking solvers knowing the local name, and it seemed a Google too far, so I decided on the double indication, using the clue gimmick to supply the material to be highlighted. At least both parties to the event are represented.