A fortnight ago it was one of those spring weekends when the garden beckoned. Shortly afterwards it was one of those weekends where sitting at a desk to write a blog reminded you that certain muscles hadn’t been used in the months since the garden last beckoned. So no blog, alas.
This time round I’m completing my exploration of puzzles from 1996 with Church Times 332 from April of that year. At least a couple of occasions where I thought ‘Did I really write that clue?’ and the answer was ‘Yes’, so perhaps my style has evolved. I couldn’t exactly tell you how, though. Less chance of spotting evolution for the next wee while – the box I’m drawing from for the next round is from 2016.
October is a quiet month for Phi and Pedro and Kcit puzzles – from now on I think you have only my Friday Independent appearances, and one of those is on a Thursday. Next Thursday, in fact – 21 October marks a centenary. It’s one of those puzzles where you cannot assume the average solver has the breadth of knowledge. People in the know may feel short-changed, but it’s a question of pitching the subject. If you want me to base a puzzle on (say) Terry Pratchett, then I could include WEATHERWAX to the bafflement of all but devotees, so instead I’m likely to use JINGO, or possibly FIFTH and ELEPHANT.
The Independent puzzle I’m about to clue is a precise example of this, featuring a creative artist with a significant birthday in 2021. Fortunately the oeuvre includes titles that are also common phrases – so they’re the ones going in. The title with an attractive neologism or two has to be discarded. Yes, it is a nice word, and yes, it may even not be this person’s neologism, and has been used elsewhere, but that doesn’t mean it is common enough to use.
Today is the big vaccination day for New Zealand, bringing the average for the country up to the average for, well, Wellington. There are road signs and other pointers all over, though I was surprised to see one vaccination station located in what was, until quite recently, a noted gang haunt. The locale has been comprehensively made over, to be sure, but the notoriety of the address still jangles the memory of those of us who’ve been around a while.
Back when October is fading into November.