Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Back in the swing…   3 comments

Everybody loves Christmas, right? Well, I’m a long way from what you’d call Mr Grumpy, but sometimes I wonder. If I’m not setting puzzles I’m not earning so, while the festive period is enjoyable, it does mean a break as I commit to family stuff and – usually – a busier period for the band, and that can be a problem. Writing good clues consistently requires being ‘in the zone’, and the zone is fickle. Leave it for a few days and getting back to where you left off can be frustratingly difficult. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted February 5, 2015 by Anax in Uncategorized

Xim vs Lib – again!   3 comments

Yes, the battle rages on, as some of you may have noticed. I’ve resisted involvement for a couple of reasons. Adding comments could have been seen as attacking other setters, which I would never do, but I’m also aware that – in terms of the setting population – my opinion is one of several hundred and I have no claim to be any more right than anyone else. However, in the comparative safety of my own online space I can at least offer a couple of thoughts. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted September 26, 2014 by Anax in Uncategorized

Grid Balance   1 comment

For some reason several questions about grid balance have cropped up in the past month, and the best one to answer is the simple “What is it?” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted May 15, 2014 by Anax in Uncategorized

The Muse   4 comments

It’s been a few years since I wrote a song – five years, in fact, since I rustled up a bassline, drum patterns, chord sequence and lyric to a something that became ‘No Chilli’, which I went on to record with my bandmate Dave. It’s a good song, turned out really well (I’m sure I uploaded it to YouTube but I can’t find it). It turned out well because The Muse was there as I wrote it, and how pretentious that sounds. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted May 13, 2014 by Anax in Uncategorized

Clever, contrived, convoluted?   Leave a comment

As you rummage around the numerous cryptic crossword blogs you occasionally see those words; commenters describing a clue as contrived or convoluted, or even accusing the setter of ‘trying to be clever’. On most occasions such comments are made in good faith but, just as often, they are made without a full understanding of what goes into creating a set of crossword clues, so let us take a little peek into the way most setters work. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted July 7, 2013 by Anax in Uncategorized

Animated GIFs question   3 comments

Help needed – absolutely nothing to do with crosswords! Well, almost… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted September 22, 2012 by Anax in Uncategorized

Anax tomorrow   4 comments

There are two Anax puzzles in the Independent this month, both on a Saturday, the first one tomorrow. It isn’t themed, but…

An odd coincidence – yesterday’s crossword by Buzzer in The Hindu was mightily impressive; all clues started with the letter B, reminding me of the ‘B-headed by Anax’ puzzle that appeared on Alberich’s Free Crosswords Online site a few years ago. Buzzer’s effort is especially remarkable since English is not his native tongue. Anyway, after seeing Buzzer’s puzzle my mind immediately latched onto the idea of crosswords which are not themed as such but have clue constraints, and the last one I did was a couple of years ago in the ‘i’ (and, if I remember correctly, at a later date in the Independent) in which the 26 clues started with consecutive letters of the alphabet.

Tomorrow’s prize crossword takes the idea a little further. I’m sure you’ll notice but, more to the point, hope you enjoy it.

Posted June 1, 2012 by Anax in Uncategorized

Not just hard puzzles   5 comments

One of the hardest disciplines to master as a cryptic crossword setter isn’t the technicality of clue-writing rules. It’s the intense concentration – ideally unbroken – needed to see a puzzle through from concept to conclusion. This is especially true if you’re trying to do it full-time and it’s your sole source of income. Absolute application is extremely difficult when your mind is on other things, and it’s far worse when you don’t have the luxury of putting a puzzle aside for a few days. So what happens when the ‘other stuff’ gets oppressive, when the damage it does to your ability to concentrate becomes more than just a bit inconvenient? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted May 24, 2012 by Anax in Uncategorized

Excalibur, Excalibur   6 comments

There are times when the urge to jump to the defence of a colleague is very strong, but it can be a hazardous ploy. You always run the risk of hearing “Well, you would, wouldn’t you?” as well as possibly alienating solvers/bloggers with whom you’ve always had a good relationship. For that reason I tend to hold my tongue. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted April 26, 2012 by Anax in Uncategorized

Sheer brilliance!   4 comments

This week’s DIY COW (link below) winner was GymBunnies with a clue which I genuinely believe may be the greatest ever written. Have a ponder over this one:

. . . . . . (6)

Posted August 12, 2011 by Anax in Uncategorized