Annotating my clues, as I do, many weeks after writing them often reveals to me flaws and oversights that lead quickly to little regrets and moments of self-reproach. Add to that the occasional complaint from a solver, and it’s little wonder that this blog regularly features excuses and apologies.
I take comfort however from the esteemed Guardian crossword editor Hugh Stephenson, whose monthly blog posts frequently consist at least in part of apologies and explanations for slips and misjudgements.
With eight different puzzles, some daily, some weekly, spread over two papers – the Guardian and the Observer (effectively the Guardian’s Sunday paper) – Hugh Stephenson has many more opportunities to slip or nod than I do, and many of his apologies relate to technical glitches, often just in the online versions, that are not really the editor’s responsibility. Nevertheless I do feel considerable sympathy for some of his difficulties. I know this one too well.
No New Zealand newspapers have any such post as “crossword editor”. Their daily straight and cryptic puzzles (and sudoku etc.) are bought for what I imagine are negligible sums from English and Australian syndicators and reprinted without much checking, as frequent typos and wrong grids reveal.
My local paper, the Dominion Post, used to run old Times cryptics three times a week, which at least had a touch of class. Those puzzles have been replaced now by ancient puzzles from the Daily Telegraph. The Telegraph puzzles are, for some reason, noticeably more parochial than the Times ones (not that that’s a bad thing – if you’re in England), and much older. A reference recently to Hancock’s Half Hour would I am sure completely baffle most New Zealanders.
I know newspapers are struggling these days – I don’t expect them to commission new puzzles daily – but I do feel that with this sort of old rubbish they are showing something very close to contempt for their audience.
|Across||Answers and Clues||Explanations|
|Accidentally acquire a novel emoticon (4,4)||Anagram of EMOTICON|
|Comes clean: has property to the north (4,2)||has property = OWNS, to the north = UP|
|Present in space though not necessarily in time (4)||Cryptic definition|
|Real nights confused inhabitants of one planet we know (10)||Anagram of REAL NIGHTS|
|A certain amount of power, love, is returned from North American capital (6)||A certain amount of power = A WATT, love = O, returned = reversal indicator|
|Bridge built with mad grace (4,4)||Anagram of MAD GRACE|
|A competing scam’s design offers an attractive pointer for those at sea (8,7)||Anagram of A COMPETING SCAMS|
|New Lions lineup shows a high level of coolness (4,4)||Anagram of NEW LIONS|
|Here is a new production of Hamlet not far from Stratford (6)||Anagram of ELTHAM|
|Replaced broken sets for items the paver put in place (10)||Anagram of BROKEN SETS|
|A sound economic miracle? (4)||Double definition|
|Yale University musicology heads repeatedly show an appreciation of culinary achievement (3-3)||Acronym, Y ale U niversity M usicology|
|Get Santa upset: just lie there doing nothing (8)||Anagram of GET SANTA.|
|Down||Answers and Clues||Explanations|
|A steep change in the nominal value of old money in Spain (6)||Anagram of A STEEP|
|Connect and communicate with nice tart in error (8)||Anagram of NICE TART|
|Wrought iron is black in Paris (4)||Anagram of IRON|
|Monk has no right to irritate (6)||Monk = BROTHER minus right = R|
|Finishing while awake? (6,2)||Cryptic definition|
|Called for a step up (4)||Double definition|
|Take too much exercise and open shower (9)||open = OVERT + shower = RAIN|
|Many feel pain in the secret storage place (5)||Many = C (a hundred), feel pain = ACHE|
|Potter has new spell for most beaus (4,5)||Anagram of MOST BEAUS|
|Bossy new management for paper delivery operatives (8)||Anagram of BOSSY NEW|
|What the forewoman does, so it’s said, abroad (8)||sounds like oversees|
|Eventually discover how best to play along with the other musicians (2,4)||Double definition|
|Pipes used to make a container in a towboat (6)||container = BIN, towboat = TUG|
|Some resume climbing for birds (4)||Hidden word backwards re SUME, climbing = reversal indicator|
|The part of most men that smells (4)||Cryptic definition.|