Crossword News October 2012

Last month we had One before Many by eXternal as our Prize Puzzle. In most dictionaries the word before many is Manx, and this, indeed was the theme of the puzzle. Ten clues are shortened thematically by losing the last letter ie tailless like Manx cat. These letters not entered in the grid form a jumble of TRISKELION, which is the symbol on the flag of the Isle of Man. Correct letters for misprinted clues spell out WHITHERSOEVER YOU THROW IT, IT WILL STAND. This is a variant translation of the Latin motto of the Isle of Man. The title suggests the letter to be changed is Y to X ie not Man+y, but Man+x. There is only one Y which is centrally placed in the grid and forms the focal point of the pattern. The triskelion is represented as three legs formed by the names of three divisions of the Isle of Man ending with the X. These three divisions can also examples of MAN - MICHAEL, ANDREAS and GERMAN. As these all end at the X they are examples of MAN+X. Many solvers found the final touch to be difficult. The most common mistakes were not changing the Y to X and not highlighting the correct letters to form the triskelion. In fact, there were 44 entries to this competition, of which only 21 were correct. I have placed a full solution on our Puzzle Index or you can use this link Here are some of the comments. Really enjoyed this one - well done to the setter. One query - it's not entirely clear to me whether I am supposed to highlight the central X in the triskelion. I've decided to do so as it links the 3 parishes and completes the pattern appropriately (as well as giving MANX at the end of GERMAN). Not much to say on this one except I found it somewhat quirky. However I managed to grind out a filled grid and as ever, hope it is correct. Many thanks to eXternal for a clever puzzle that seemed to pack lots in. My only gripe is the instruction to change a unique letter. I assume we must change to central Y to X to spell 'Manx' but I am still not completely sure about this. Very entertaining nonetheless. The lucky winner, picked from the hat, was Mark Suddaby, who will soon be receiving his prize donated by Chambers. The Prize Puzzle for November will be Conversion by the popular setter Curmudgeon. This month you have Cut and Paste by Wan. This is a nice challenge and you have until the 8th November to send in your solution.
I have been updating our Links page at and would appreciate your suggestions for additions or deletions. Among the new additions is a link to QAT. This is a masterful tool for finding word patterns created by Quinapalus - There is also a link to the new blog by Phi. Phi has continued the Christmas puzzles of Apex since 2002 and now for the first time you can access all of his puzzles in this series. There are a lot of interesting pages at If you have enjoyed the puzzles of Brummie/Cyclops then EJ's Showcase is now at a new home at
On the Crossword Centre the Book of the Month is the latest edition of Bradford's Crossword Solver's Dictionary. This excellent aid has now been going strong for 25 years. There is also a neat link to the Kindle version of the same book.
The mailing list for the Crossword Centre now stands at a record number of 1157.
Best wishes