Crossword News May 2015

The April Prize Puzzle was 19 and 8 by Serpent. This was a real fun puzzle with the title in the grid explained as Drunk and Disorderly. Entries in the perimeter were all words meaning drunk and were disorderly, i.e. anagrams.

 Serpent's debut puzzle was a huge success. Here are some of the comments.

 Tone of preamble + lengths of answers suggested D&D from the outset.  The main point at issue then was whether the entries were anagrams of drinks or anagrams of the myriad adjectives for drunkenness.  Once that was decided things progressed smoothly.  Serpent's two puzzles this month (i.e. IQ also) have been rather impressive.
Paul Henderson


A lovely puzzle, not too difficult.

Serpent was drunk and disorderly, so the eight perimetric clues are synonyms for drunk, and are entered in a disorderly or jumbled fashion, and the eight unchecked across letters form STOTIOUS and the down ones (column by column) form SOW DRUNK.

Thank you Serpent for a lot of fun.
Raphael  Goldblatt  

Serpent quite legless I'm sure, after this? Very enjoyable and could do with more like this. Cheers. Hic!
Peter Cargill


 I am indebted to our new checker Robert Teuton for taking over the post. Here are his comments. 

Another coup for the ever-pioneering Crossword Centre being the first to secure the services of the new setter, Serpent – just ahead of his Inquisitor debut and then an appearance in the May issue of the Magpie.  And what a well-received puzzle it was – a favourite subject for many solvers, but even so a few new synonyms for drunk were still there to be learnt! 

Total number of entries – 67 

Correct entries - 64

Incorrect entries – 3 either  - OLTODBE for OLTTDBE (bottled)

or  ERNKDNV for ERNKDNU (drunken) 

All 3 silly errors in the drunkenly entered non-words!

Lucky Winner Out of the Electronic Hat  

Don Thompson will soon be receiving a prize from the Chambers range of books.

A full solution is available at
In April we also had a maths special. Pot Black by Oyler. This proved to be a tough challenge. A careful reading of the preamble was essential. Here are some of the comments.

Oyler's puzzle was beautifully constructed, using every piece of information given.  Solutions to 5d and 10a were possible for scores of 67-63 and 73-67, but the dilemma was removed by all entries being distinct. 
Dick Harvey

 Should 10ac be ‘A multiple of Hugh’s score in the match’?  I do not know the rules of snooker, but given that the final score was 73-67 and that they were tied going into the last frame, Hugh’s score in that frame could be any integer from 0 to 73 depending on what that tie was.  If he only scored 1 in the frame the middle digit of 10ac would be completely unconstrained.  Good fun, though!
Larry Baum


‘Pot Black’ - Very tough. It must have taken me ages of revisiting every clue and cross-checking with other clues before finding my way in. It was good to able to solve with only a calculator and a list of triangular numbers.  And I was relieved to find that any snooker knowledge was not required - just good old mental arithmetic and logical thinking. It reminded me somewhat of Oyler’s EV puzzle involving cricket - another puzzle that was deceptively hard.
Christopher Edward

Here is Robert's report.

An intriguing numerical puzzle that coincided with the World Snooker Finals.  This proved a tricky challenge, reflected in the entry of 33, with 22 correct.  The main error amongst the 11 incorrect entries was in assigning Hugh as the winner 67-63; this overlooked the fact that 63 was also the number of spectators who fell asleep and all grid entries were to be distinct.

Total number of entries – 33

Correct entries - 22

Incorrect entries – 11 (8 all had Hugh winning 67-63)         

Lucky Winner Out of the Electronic Hat  

Chris Edwards will soon be receiving a prize donated by the Crossword Centre.

A full solution is available at

This month the Prize Puzzle is Seriously by Chalicea. You have until the 8th June to send your entry.

In June we will be publishing Round Robin VII. The testers declared it solvable but tough! There is a wide variety of clues and I am hoping for a bumper entry. I have listed the names of all the collaborators in alphabetical order with the puzzle. I am asking solvers to vote for their favourite clue and I shall award a prize to the clue-writer who receives the most votes.

Remember that all your comments are carefully copied from your entries and forwarded to the setter. This is hugely appreciated so do feel free to add your own opinions.

In the next two weeks I shall be buying the trophy that will be the Crowther Cup. I have been looking on-line but it is difficult to judge the size or the quality. I have in mind a small cup rather like the Azed Cup. If you have any advice or recommendations I would be very grateful. We have in the region of £120 to spend.


John Henderson is organising a Sloggers and Betters meet in York on the weekend of Saturday 24 October. Unfortunately I am fully booked for the October half-term and cannot attend. You can get more details and sign up on the Fifteen Squared site at

The same John Henderson, but with his quizmaster hat on, is organising a quiz night with a difference next week. Teams will have to visit six pubs in York and order drinks before they are allowed to see the questions. It should be fun! More details here:

News of a touching documentary film about the late setter Araucaria has been announced in the Guardian. Matt Houghton’s nine-minute short, currently winning plaudits at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto, recounts the crossword maestro’s announcement of terminal cancer in a puzzle in December 2012. The film will be available on the Guardian site next month.

Best wishes