Here we are on Christmas Eve (in New Zealand at least), so here’s a puzzle for Christmas (though not a Christmas-themed puzzle).
It’s not the oldest puzzle on the site, but it’s not far off: the completion date is September 1982. It has stayed with me while going round the world, and – notwithstanding my comments last time about my desk eating paperwork – it has not been lost.
It has been sitting in the submissions queue of an outlet for about forty years but, as you’ll see, it really is too big to be published in – well, in pretty well any outlet. Even here it is presented as a PDF: Clock Patience. Some of it is hand-finished as I don’t have that much skill with graphics! I can’t actually recall receiving any editorial comments, so it may not be readily solvable. That’s a shame as there’s a feature of it I would have liked to have had confirmed.
There are 88 clues – think of it as a standard 36-entry Letters Latent puzzle, with 52 clues representing a pack of cards added on. I went through them all earlier this month, and most passed muster. There were a few that passed muster only after sucking air in through gritted teeth, and some where a few small tweaks were made (including a monarchical reference). Only four got the complete rewrite treatment, so I felt fairly pleased with my early-twenties self. But the solving is the true test, so now it’s over to you.
I’ll put the solution up next time (that will be another PDF as I’m sure you’ll want to read the letters in the cells), along with a brief setter’s blog.