Having spent some time typing up a BBC Music Magazine puzzle, I discover it’s one I already have up on the site, which tells me I’m getting some part of the editorial process wrong. I seem not to have fully connected it to its BBC page, so that’s rectified, at least. It was the May 2011 puzzle.
It was the BBC I was going to start with, anyway. As I note on the BBC puzzles page, the magazine offers good value for subscribing to the paper edition, as you get a CD of pieces every month. If you get the postal delivery at all, that is – the October issue failed to appear after several weeks. The staff at the magazine are very helpful, and sent out a replacement – which also took several weeks, before arriving on the wettest day for months. Fortunately the BBC had put the replacement copy in a nice padded envelope, so all was well. I have had things arrive in paper envelopes on wet days, resulting in a glossy magazine that is reduced to front cover, a single very thick glutinous mess, and back cover.
And now I’m beginning to look askance at the arrival time for the November issue (not yet unprecedented, not quite, at least). The delay seems to go hand-in-hand with the non-appearance of the air-freighted versions at the local magazine shop, so on occasion I can’t even get a back-up there.
It also makes you wonder how my entries going the other way fare. I make a point of having the Listener entry sealed for posting on the Monday after publication to give it the best chance to get across the miles (as it happens this coming Monday is a public holiday, so that’s one day fewer). How many take several weeks?
Meanwhile, the reduction in the postal service in New Zealand is ongoing. There used to be two post-boxes en route to the station – both have gone. The post-box near work that I adopted as my next option was unavailable for several weeks after the 2016 earthquake (not, I guess, a problem for many). And postal charges have more than doubled over the last couple of years or so.
It seems inevitable that newspaper crossword competitions will have to move to accepting online entries, yet few are doing so. Enigmatic Variations has an email option, but that’s the only one I can bring to mind. If the powers-that-be judge cruciverbal viability by the numbers of entries received, then we need to keep entry numbers up by all possible means (or augment these by assessing in other ways: hits on web pages, perhaps).
All of which is also a precursor to noting that I haven’t received my Listener prize from a couple of months ago…
A few changes in the pattern of publication coming up: I will be in The Independent this coming Friday as usual, but the following week sees me move to Wednesday (aka Halloween) – more of that next time. There’s a Times Jumbo on Saturday 27 October, and I believe I am in The Magpie in November