In these current times, ‘dinner’ is not the word – but I’ll use it. I’m getting this weekend’s update published promptly so that I can get my beauty sleep before my first breakfast-time Listener Dinner. The timing is fine – 8 am NZ time – and would have been much worse in a couple of weeks once both sets of clocks have changed (and in opposite directions). Still, Marjorie has a 6am Zoom this coming Wednesday (but we can blame Americans for that…).
I have no skin in the game for this year’s announcements – my next Listener puzzle pops up next Saturday (27 March), so next year’s event is the one I will have an eye on. And no need to come up with an apology for absence this year – somehow one never wants to say the same thing over and over again, but new ideas come at a price too. The opportunity to augment events by prudent use of Zoom, Teams or whatever the Google one is called may be one good thing to come out of the current situation.
It will be interesting to participate in what will be my largest ever Zoom meeting. While the maximum number of attendees has been set at 500, I doubt we’ll get that, but a three-figure quantity seems guaranteed. I think my previous best has been the low 70s, which is a fair bit scrolling sideways on a Zoom screen.
The day after the Listener puzzle comes an appearance by Kcit in the Enigmatic Variations series in the Sunday Telegraph. A quiet weekend for solving – and fortuitously just before the deadline for submitting my next BBC Music Magazine puzzle. Which is what you have this time round – from April 2011. Do get the latest issue (April 2021) with its symphonies by Malcolm Arnold. The centenary of his birth actually falls later this year and, yes, there will be some puzzles from me about it. Otherwise Phi-day in The Independent will roll around as usual, including a Nina on Good Friday.
There will, of course, be setter’s blogs on both puzzles from the weekend of 27-28 March in due course.
The quiet of next weekend will allow me to get out a reminder to APEX participants to vote before the deadline of 31 March. Many have and we have a contest under way. There are still about seven clues in contention for the honours so do not think it’s too late to have an impact. I will collate the results over Easter, and at the start of May you will get the 2020 puzzle as the puzzle of the fortnight.