Crossword News May 2019

The April prize Puzzle was 12-AC by Apt. By coincidence, this was published on the weekend that BBC1screened the first episode of series 5 of In Line of Duty, and that was the theme of the puzzle! The pairs of entries with swapped definitions are anagrams of the actors playing police officers investigated for corruption by 'AC-12' in the first three series of the TV drama Line of Duty: LENNIE JAMES (NINJAS/MELEE), KEELEY HAWES (EELS/HAWKEYE) and DANIEL MAYS (DAILY/MENSA). The pair forming an anagram of the relevant actor for the fourth series, THANDIE NEWTON, was to be highlighted.

A full solution is available at

Here are some of the comments from solvers.

Thanks to Apt for the mostly easy clues (and the BBC for the constant trailers for the latest series which must have meant 12-AC was liable to ring a bell somewhere.) Having not watched any previous series, it did mean recourse to Wiki to find, not the names of the villains, but of the actors playing them.

I'm a late convert to 'Line of Duty' and, though I entered 12-AC early on and 36-AC not long after, it needed Google to determining the four names required. I thought the puzzle was well-constructed with a good number of clues having a smooth surface reading, enhanced by the transposition of the 6 definitions in three pairs of clues. Thanks to Apt for an enjoyable challenge.

Many thanks for the highly entertaining puzzle 12-AC by Apt. Aside from the new (for me) non-square grid it had some delights in the cluing and overall construction. The theme in 12ac of AC-12 came relatively easily after a few entries in the top left corner and 36ac followed swiftly. Then came the thematic links. All very satisfying. I am looking forward to next month already!

There were 46 entries, of which 2 were marked incorrect. The lucky winner, picked from the electronic hat, was Geoff Telfer from Shipley, who will soon be receiving a prize book.

You still have time to complete and submit your solution to the May puzzle, Leads by Hoot.

The June Prize Puzzle will be Evergreen by Flowerman. Flowerman is Ian Thompson, who has enjoyed solving cryptic puzzles since the 1970s. Having had more free time in the past five years, he has become a compiler of both standard and thematic puzzles. Most of his puzzles have been published in the Australian Crossword Club’s monthly magazine Crozworld, but some have also been published in the Crossword Centre and in Magpie.

Born and raised in Numurkah, Victoria, Australia, he currently resides in Melbourne with partner Jo. He has three boys. In his youth he was a keen sportsman and now keeps fit by cycling. He enjoys jigsaw puzzles. He has worked as a veterinary surgeon and as a plant taxonomist, hence the pseudonym. He is now retired apart from a small amount of teaching of biology at the University of Melbourne.

There will also be a June special, Last Word by Chalicea. Solutions to this special will also count towards annual statistics.
Robert Teuton sends a massive apology for the delay in announcing the results of the 2018 statistics. He has overcome lots of problems to get them sorted.

Six competitors manage to remain all correct for the year 2018 - three of them being the all corrects from 2017, i.e. Matthew Auger, Keith Williams and Brian Betker.  Joining them at the top of the pile are RJ Green, Dale Johannesen and Andie Johnson.  In the time-honoured tradition of the Cup passing on the the next in line of the all-corrects with the best countback record the winner for 2018 is thus Brian Betker! So, congratulations to Brian who will have his name inscribed on the beautiful Crowther Cup, named in honour of our old friend Trevor Crowther.

Robert hopes to publish the full statistics shortly.
A recent study on the effects of doing puzzles and word games on brain functions has been carried out at the University of Essex. From their results, researchers calculate that people who engage in word puzzles have brain function equivalent to ten years younger than their age, on tests assessing grammatical reasoning and eight years younger than their age on tests measuring short term memory. You can read more at this link.
If you have ever wondered how setters create puzzles with multiple letters in individual cells, EV editor, Steve Bartlett has written a fascinating explanation on Crossword Unclued. He advises using Qxw and show how he sets some of his complex crosswords.
Should crossword grids be symmetrical? Alan Connor addresses this question with an analysis of Emu’s wonderful Listener crossword 4549, From where I’m Standing.
Last month I mentioned Phi’s 2018 Apex puzzle which is sent to a group of solvers every Christmas. Now that the results have been completed, Phi has put the crossword on his website. You can have a try at this tough puzzle at this link.
The April Azed competition was to write a Printer’s Devilry clue to ERATHEM. The winning clue was by E C Lance who entered his first clue 60 years ago.

In Mozart’s op/inion, Figaro must outwit his master.

(In Mozart’s opera the minion, Figaro, must outwit his master.)

In his slip Azed commented – “And finally, special congratulations to Mr (or is it Dr?) Lance for gaining his first prize after competing for 60 years in Ximenes/Azed competitions, a real triumph of persistence. His earlier near misses (VHCs and HCs) are recorded on the website.”

Best wishes