This week I managed to make an error in a puzzle. It was the Pangakupu puzzle in Wednesday’s Guardian (15 March). The puzzle crept up on me at a notice short enough that I couldn’t even announce it here a fortnight ago.
The mistake was to confuse Prestwick (the airport serving Glasgow) with Prestwich (the suburb of Manchester). To be fair, in my handwriting they are interchangeable.
There are good reasons why our household should recall Prestwick Airport, but as they involve gastroenteritis and Richard Branson, I’ll not give you the details. (At least the kilt was spared.) But confuse them I did, and it slipped past the editor as well.
These things happen. The canonic example is perhaps Ximenes, whose competition word was once: ‘A stringed instrument (9)’ – which proved to be CLARIONET. Or there was Azed blithely clueing TROI under the assumption that it was French for ‘three’. These things happen.
The responses were the thing. There were those who thought that any sort of error was inexcusable – and who, one reflects, must therefore have very trying lives. There were Mancunians who had never heard of Prestwich, though Glaswegians were more familiar with Prestwick. I assume this is because it is one of their airports, though one commenter asserted that it wasn’t actually in Glasgow. Admittedly it’s far enough out for it to be Ryanair’s airport of choice, but it is Glasgow’s airport. Just like, you know, London has Luton.
Plenty of solvers were unfazed, having heard of neither. And there were, at last, those who just accepted that, occasionally, these things happen. As they do. And they will again. (Meanwhile there’s a fresh clue in the online archive, as seen at the link above, for people to grumble over.)
Forthcoming on the site is a setter’s blog on my recent Inquisitor: Snack Time. That should appear this coming Thursday.
The puzzle this time is the annual appearance of the raison d’etre for this site the APEX puzzle (2022 edition). The winning clues and the names of their authors appear on the solution page.
The regular puzzles on Fridays in the Independent will have to keep you going for the rest of the month.
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