On we go   6 comments

In good and bad ways it’s been a busy couple of months.

Thankfully it’s mostly good. Over the past year or so the Sunday Times has occasionally run month-long series of Jumbo GK puzzles around Bank Holidays, and there had long been talk of eventually expanding the puzzles section so that this could become a permanent weekly feature. This has come to be as of the start of August, so it’s a welcome opportunity to shake off the cryptic shackles once a week.

It’s a different challenge – the opposite, in some ways, to cryptics. Once a 225 has been filled the big task is clueing, while with the jumbo puzzles that part of it is straightforward; the hard part is getting a big grid filled with GK-ish answers.

It has presented another challenge though. To keep things from being fiddly and bitty, I’ll generally put together a monthly supply along with – every other month – a two-month supply of concise crosswords. This is fine, but the difficult part is then switching back into cryptic mode. My brain seems to take a long time to adjust to that way of thinking. For different reasons last month was the same. I had a three week holiday in Canada with absolutely no crossword activity and it was mighty hard to turn the lights back on when I got home. I wonder if solvers experience something similar if they’ve broken the solving habit for a few weeks?

On the bad side there’s a bit of intense emotional turmoil going on at the moment. Out of the blue and for no reason I can even vaguely fathom my daughter has blanked me completely and I’m unable to establish contact directly or via her mum. It’s a horrible and utterly mysterious situation, but listen… I have to work and I have to keep functioning, so while the satisfaction was muted I was very glad to get a pair of ST puzzles done and dusted over the weekend.

Solvers of Anax puzzles may be wondering where I’ve been over the past month or so. Don’t worry, I’m still there, and I’ll be back shortly. It’s simply that the past two months have combined a sudden extra workload (to deadline) and almost a month away from all crossword activity. I had actually tried to submit an Anax before the Canada trip but it was a failed grid-fill. The GK and concise work is now done for a few months and the desk has been cleared for full-on cryptic setting.


Posted August 16, 2015 by Anax in Uncategorized

6 responses to “On we go

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  1. I suffered a similar cryptic crisis a few weeks ago after several weeks wearing my different occupational hat, editing a quarterly trade magazine. I sat down to tackle a DT puzzle (they’re published in the local paper here four weeks after their first appearance) and drew an almost total blank. Had the dreaded brain rot set in?

    I have long thought that these things take regular practice rather like sports and musical performance where mastery of the skills has to be continually refreshed.

  2. Have just had three crossword-free weeks in Greece, took me a while to return to thinking cryptically, with some tragically slow solves – but I am trying to think of it as a beneficial revitalising rest and inspiration rather than any real risk of losing the flow. I’ve been through the daughter blanking stuff which hurts and I feel for you, all i can say is if you just keep being yourself avoiding any poisonous resentment, it will eventually return to a mature relationship, unfortunately probably on her timing. Surely she still thinks you’re cool. Never give up, dads are forever. Best of luck in the GK world, I’m not ready for that at all.

  3. No idea where to post this except here. Re Sunday Times 4668, a bloody masterpiece. No wasted words, no unfair obscurities; just a joy to solve…and funny.

    N.B I’m Hanni off BD’s site.

    Hope stuff gets sorted with your daughter.

  4. No idea where to post this except here. Re Sunday Times 4668, a bloody masterpiece. No wasted words, no obscurities just a joy to solve…and funny. Thank you.

    N.B I’m Hanni off BD’s site.

    Hope things resolve themselves with your daughter.

  5. Thanks Hanni – glad you enjoyed it!
    The situation with my daughter is all good now. The problem arose because of her exams – top marks in everything apart from her favourite subject, and she was so disappointed she just wanted to hide for a while, but she’s OK now.

    • If she’s a perfectionist it can feel like hell. Glad it’s sorted now. I remember getting rejected from my first choice uni and it being hell on earth. Yet when my child type things go through this they can’t believe you can relate to them.

      17a and 13d were suberb.

      Hope you and Dutch carry on with open mic night. As a pianist (classical), it sounds terrifying.

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