Sloggers & Betters (Midlands) 2 – the big pictures!   11 comments

A brilliant day in Birmingham – sadly a rather abbreviated update post for now as I’ve got yet more(!) PC problems to deal with. Huge thanks to everyone who turned up, in particular Roger Squires for adding special conjuring entertainment to round things off, and not least to Sil van den Hoek for providing us with one of the most outstanding crosswords I’ve seen in a long, long time. A rosy future beckons, methinks. Now, let’s have some photos:

Tucking in

Peter Biddlecombe, Yedrom, Linxit and Big Dave

Arachne (Guardian) discusses fish & chips with Sil van den Hoek

Kathryn's Dad - was that a bit hot?

Kenmac and The Minx

Orlando / Cincinnus

Kathryn's Dad, Mike C, Eileen

Tyrus, nmsindy

REGALIZE and Lenny

A roomful of cruciverbalists

Sil van den Hoek, Flashling, Orlando

More face-filling - for a 'standard' city centre pub the food was very good

Eric Westbrook and Tilsit

Arachne and Sil (again!)

Roger Squires - magic as ever

Sil's turn to be spellbound

Roger and Sil

Now THAT is a rapt audience!

Elgar/Nimrod/Enigmatist/one month's wages

Jetdoc watches closely

Tilsit, Mike C

Peter Biddlecombe (sorry about the red eye)

The grand finale


Posted June 26, 2011 by Anax in Newsification

11 responses to “Sloggers & Betters (Midlands) 2 – the big pictures!

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  1. Thanks a million for all your organisation for another brilliant get-together, Dean [and Jayne] – and for the pictures. I hope it’s not too long till the next one!

    Many thanks for your own puzzle [it was fascinating to complete it as a joint effort!]- and I look forward to trying Sil’s at home.

    Thanks again – à bientôt!


    • Lovely to see you again Eileen!
      Talking of that puzzle, I’m in the process of re-originating it so it can be solved and submitted online, but just struggling a bit with the submitting part – Crossword Compiler does have a submit button but it’s tricky to make it work properly. I’ll work it out somehow!
      I really can’t recommend Sil’s puzzle enough – absolutely stunning work and at least 4 or 5 of the clues will leave you breathless with their quality.
      It’s a real shame that one non-dictionary entry would probably mean an editor would reject it, but I’m confident Sil will put another one together because quality like that deserves publication (he’s got a very Indy style).

  2. Thank you very much for organising a super do in Birmingham, Dean, with so many fascinating people. Thank you too for taking an interest in the blind crossword program. It’s rather nice to be able to say that one can crack an Annax with one’s eyes closed!
    Keep up the brilliant puzzles please.
    Best wishes,
    Eric Westbrook

  3. Hi Dean,

    Thanks for a great day; I managed to get Flashling to New Street in time for his train only to find mine was cancelled. Had to drink some more in the station bar, The Shakespeare, which is not bad for a station bar.

    As I said on Saturday, as I work in Nottingham, I’ll be looking for suitable venues there over the next couple of weeks, what do you or indeed anybody who sees this is, think is the furthest walk from acceptable walk from the station ? There is a great pub with brilliant food just outside Beeston station which is only 4 minutes by train from Nottingham towards Derby and a lot of the trains coming from London stop there as do most trains from Birmingham and Derby to Nottingham.

    Thanks again and all the best to you both,

    Steve Mordey

  4. A message from Roger Squires (copied from email):

    Firstly I must thank Anax for arranging such a magnificent get-together. I had intended thanking Dean at the end of my magic spot, and I also committed the awful sin for magicians in not thanking the “volunteeers” who were kind enough to help me in the act. My last proper performance in public was way back in 1977 – on BBC TV. It was then that my first wife left overnight to live with a producer of Pebble Mill at One, leaving her son from a previous marriage and our own son behind, both pre-teenage. I gave up acting and magic so that I could stay at home to look after them. To earn a reasonable living I provided several syndicates with 40 puzzles a week – entering the Guinness Book of Records the following year. I met my second wife playing squash in the early 80s and we set up house with the boys and her daughter in 1983.

    Because I had done one or two tricks at the Derby gathering, I added one or two more routines. In the old days, performing most nights, the execution of the tricks was routine and I could concentrate on presentation and the people involved. On Saturday, I was struggling at times to simply remember how to do the tricks! Thus I forgot to thank Dean, and also the people kind enough to help me in the act. The least I should have done would be to ask for a round of applause for each of them.

    So apologies all round. Many thank to Jane (JetDoc), Sil van den Hoek and John Henderson. Thank you and a round of applause for each!

  5. Many thanks, Dean, for organising this meeting which I thought was very different from the previous one. I did enjoy the Derby do immensely – no mistake about that – but this one was much more intimate. Just fantastic. At times, it still feels a bit surreal. It’s only three years ago that I started doing crosswords and there I sit, having a chat with some of the greats in Crosswordland. And they’re just like normal people ……

    Also Dean, I doubt whether my Dalibor puzzle was “one of the most outstanding crosswords I’ve seen in a long, long time”, but needless to say that your support is hugely asppreciated. When I left home I was very unsure (although the idea was there) whether I should hand out one of my puzzles as I thought pros like you and John would come up with something too. But it worked out surprisingly well. Many thanks to everyone who gave it a go, whether you liked it or not. Such a shame that hardly anyone saw 29ac …..

    By far the most important thing though was the inspiring and relaxing atmosphere in which it all took place.
    Many thanks again, in particular to Roger Squires – what a lovely email message!

    Sil van den Hoek
    • Hi Sil
      I meant every word. You really must think about an approach to (perhaps most appropriate) the Indie – your work has the class to do it and I’m happy to help in whatever way I can.
      PS: Your phrase ‘just like normal people’. Love it! That word ‘like’ speaks volumes, because some of us are surprisingly odd…

  6. What a great day in Brum. Great pub, food and company and some tricky puzzles. Thanks, Anax for organizing this.
    Liz Geear

  7. Fantastic afternoon, which I really enjoyed. Dean and Jayne put in a lot of effort with the organisation, and it all came together brilliantly. As others have said: good company, good conversation, good beer. Nice to see some ‘old’ faces, and especially nice to meet some new ones.

    Thanks again.


  8. Thanks for another excellent gathering. Enjoyed both your (anax@s) X-word and Sl’s. Because I can’t see whtat I’m writing (some problem with teh site?) I’ll sto now.

    Best wishes


  9. Thanks again, Anax, for all your efforts, which resulted in a memorable afternoon (until about 4pm, anyway, hic), and thanks to everyone else for being so lovely xxx

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