Best of luck goes incognito   11 comments

Because it was a prize puzzle, live until today, I spent last week in a fever of impatience, desperate to start writing about one of the nicest and strangest of clue-writing experiences. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted May 17, 2015 by Anax in Uncategorized

All of it   Leave a comment

My first job after leaving school was with a graphic design company in Manchester. The pay was too low for me to afford public transport, so I cycled there and back. No great hardship, of course, but it meant I didn’t have the luxury of tackling a crossword during the commute. To be honest, buying the paper would have been an extravagance on my wage. Occasionally, though, I called in at the newsagent across the road and picked up The Guardian so I could at least have a crack during lunch. My time at the company was short, but it saw me go from ‘crossword clueless’ to ‘a bit flash’; it also told me I would be a cryptic setter and that The Guardian’s inventiveness was my model and my place to start. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted March 4, 2015 by Anax in Uncategorized

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

Never give up!   5 comments

The email I received quite recently was rather sad. It came from a novice setter – I won’t give any details here, but it revolved around the frustration of what was felt to be an inability to get a full set of clues good enough for publication or submission. Essentially the tone was “I keep getting it wrong”. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted November 22, 2014 by Anax in Newsification

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

I have no interest in trees, ergo…   2 comments

…this puzzle is rubbish. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted June 18, 2014 by Anax in Newsification

Grid Balance   Leave a 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