Following the ‘revelation’ by the Daily Express that more people solve online crosswords than have sex (actually it was just a plug for their online puzzles pages) I was contacted by BBC Radio Humberside to do an interview with them early this afternoon. As it turned out there was no discussion about the Express survey, but presenter Peter Levy did ask about life as a crossword setter. The interview will stay online for 7 days so if you want to have a listen here’s the link:
This covers the whole programme. My slot starts at about 1hr 20min.
Despite having crosswords published in so many places it’s still a buzz to see them in print, and tomorrow is a very special day for me. As Anax, I make my debut in the Inquisitor series (Independent magazine). The Inquisitor is the barred thematic puzzle a la Listener/EV and this is my first foray in national print (I’ve had a couple of efforts published online in Magpie and on Neil Shepherd’s Free Crossword Online).
With it being a prize puzzle I can say nothing about it, but I can say it’s a huge thrill to have my first one in print. I’m tremendously grateful to editor John Henderson for allowing me to interrupt the flow of the big boys who regularly contribute to this prestigious series. I just hope that solvers will enjoy my humble efforts.
It’ll be a few weeks before it gets blogged on FifteenSquared but, as it’s my debut, I would really like feedback. If you get a chance to solve it then, primarily, THANK YOU, but if you’d like to let me know what you thought I’d be even more grateful.
PLEASE DON’T LEAVE COMMENTS HERE! In line with other crossword sites I would like to uphold the policy of not mentioning prize puzzles of this type online before their closing dates. However, if you enjoy it (or not) do please send me a text:
Just back from a week overseas with no Internet access, only a crummy old laptop to work on, and with only my phone’s Chambers Dictionary/Thesaurus for reference. A bit limited! One puzzle turned out OK; this one started OK but, after a few innocent themed clues centred on romance, it struck me that others offered more lewd potential, making the finished item unsuitable for newspaper publication. HOWEVER all is not as it seems. Almost without exception, there is nothing here that’s anything like as rude as the clues may suggest. Here it is: http://crossword.info/anaxcrosswords/SFTW
PS: In Monte-Carlo my daughter and I tried a new form of motorsport which has got to be taken up here – Karting on Ice! Seriously – electrically powered (but pretty fast) karts on a temporary ice rink set up in the main part of the harbour (where the pits are during the F1 race). Huge fun.
Most of the guff I’ve written about crossword setting has mentioned that some answers force themselves into the grid because of checking letters, and that sometimes the hardest part is writing clues for these. Read the rest of this entry »
After installing AdBlock I find I can no longer access FaceBook, despite all attempts to disable it for the site, re-launching the browser, resetting the router etc etc. With immediate effect, and based on the fact that I really can’t be bothered messing around with it, I am OFF FaceBook with no particular desire to return. I’d recommend you bookmark this blog if you haven’t already done so, as I can’t even access FB using the ‘share’ function here.
Sam Wilson has set up a Google blog page which lists all the latest happenings in the world of cryptic crosswords. It’s really surprising that no-one has thought of doing this before, but there you go! I’ve included a permanent link in the list on the bottom left of this page, but here’s the bookmark you need: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/114094793428574469056 – highly recommended!
2013 promises to be an exciting cruciverbal year as we celebrate 100 years of crosswords, and several plans are afoot to attract new solvers (and, hopefully, setters) into our friendly fold. However, there’s just one plan that worries me slightly. Read the rest of this entry »
And we start 2013 with a little grumble. Setters don’t expect to log on to forums and see their work greeted with universal plaudits, and we’re always happy to have our (hopefully minor) failings pointed out, but there is one comment that makes me grit my teeth. Read the rest of this entry »
Over the past 4 or so years I’ve assembled quite a few 15×15 non-cryptic puzzles, each a mix of straight definition and mild general knowledge clues. These have been supplied to a couple of in-house monthly publications on a non-exclusive basis. The time has come to allow these puzzles to have a fresh airing elsewhere, and I’d like them to go to monthly magazines (or indeed any type of publication) which want high quality crosswords without the usual expense – for puzzles of this type the minimum fee would be around £50 per puzzle.
So here’s what I’m offering; 36 crosswords, effectively a 3-year supply, for just £350. Each is presented with fully artworked puzzle/solution grids in BMP or TIFF format, with clues and reference grids in a single Word document, all supplied by email. Payment can be by PayPal or BACS.
Know anyone involved with a magazine? Any way you could make this offer known to them?
There’s still time (4 days) to catch Radio 4′s hour-long programme celebrating 100 years of the cryptic crossword:
Lots of interesting material including interviews with Ruth Crisp (Crispa), John Graham (Araucaria) and former Telegraph crossword editor Val Gilbert. My own take? Well, it contains plenty of fascinating insights and was certainly an enjoyable listen but, for me, seems to end the story at a point 20-30 years ago. It may be that most Radio 4 listeners stopped remembering stuff around that time, but really… it would have been nice to hear about where the cryptic crossword is at right now. Contemporary – and highly influential – setters such as John Halpern, John Henderson etc don’t get a look in, which is a shame.
2013 is when our celebrations will be in full swing, so let’s hope the new year will see the modern cryptic crossword covered more extensively.