Somewhere in the burgeoning to-do heap near my left arm lies this year’s APEX puzzle, complete in first draft and awaiting typing up, and editing and the like. No rush, as I will keep saying all the way up to December, by which time I won’t be able to find it. If it weren’t for a current need to dream up yet another untried Christmas Idea for another publication, I’d probably be considering the 2017 puzzle even now.
Which is by way of defusing any thoughts that the title of this post implied anything radical. What I am pondering is an email I received while we were over in America. This was from a regular solver of barred thematic puzzles (and possible visitor to this site – in which case, Hello again) asking to join the list (incidentally, I said Yes, and then started pondering because, actually, no-one had simply just asked before). Obviously putting the puzzle out into cyberspace will potentially reveal its existence to many more possible solvers, which is not a bad thing. But it does give me pause from the logistical end of things.
I inherited a long list of names and addresses from Eric Chalkley, and it was quite a job to sit down and address everything, add the stamps, add ‘A?EX’* to the envelope, separate out the overseas ones, and so on. All very seasonal, of course (run-up to Christmas, put some carols on while you do it…), but quite extensive. So I started making suggestions about moving online, and now nearly everything is done that way. But there are still some of the original group who do not use computers, and I will continue to maintain a print service for now.
This has constraints – the final score-sheet works beautifully as a spreadsheet, and is thus readily emailed, but there are all sorts of problems getting it to print on a sheet of A4 while remaining legible. That becomes a constraint on numbers. Which all boils down to the fact that I’m unlikely to expand the list of recipients significantly for now (though I retain the right to invite new members, of course! And if you ask very nicely…).
Enough navel-gazing. The new puzzle this time round is from the Church Times in 2002, and my thanks to them for permission to republish. Interesting for me as I today finished one for early 2017, and I was able to consider changes in style – though whether any solver would spot what I did is a moot point.
There’s also a new setter’s blog, covering the puzzle in August’s Magpie magazine.
* The ? appears as a capital Greek phi in my editing pane – until I save the draft or publish the page. Cue font rage…