The holidays come thick and fast at this time of year. Waitangi Day marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, which was intended to forge an alliance between the Crown and the Maori tribes, and resulted in GB declaring sovereignty over NZ, thereby stopping it becoming part of New South Wales, or possibly French (always a concern with the British). This being a tightly-written legal document, it was immediately open to multiple interpretations, not least because the English and Maori versions differed significantly. This has provided continuing entertainment down the decades (since no-one really knows what was intended, but would you trust somewhere called perfidious Albion?), with a current item being the presence or absence of the Prime Minister at the early morning celebrations on February 6, and whether s/he can speak if the former applies. There being plenty of amour-propre on both sides, this will run and run.
Meanwhile we get a holiday now even if February 6 is disobliging enough to fall on a weekend (it’s called ‘Mondayising’ the holiday). And this weekend has actually been a scorcher (though the gloom returns from the day itself tomorrow, it seems).
The puzzle put up this weekend is another unpublished Beelzebub crossword. There’s still a bundle to work through, so anyone who is still pining for the Beelzebub puzzle knows where to come.
February is a little quiet outside the Independent weekly routine: there should be a Toughie in the next fortnight, and there’s a Times Quick Cryptic on Friday 10th. There’s an Inquisitor on the horizon, though, with an Enigmatic Variations on its horizon.
The APEX clues are in, and I will be collating the list for voting tomorrow. After some unexpected names among the early respondents, it was reassuring that the usual thirteenth-hour entrants came in at the thirteenth hour. Keep your eyes on your inboxes.