Crossword News September 2021

The August Prize Puzzle was Diet by Curmudgeon. This was based on the film, Blade Runner, and Roy Batty’s famous final speech had to be highlighted diagonally in the grid. His final words were “Time to Die”, referenced in the title. One thing that we did not notice was that the speech was one letter short. Sorry about that.

Here are some of the comments from solvers.

While I have never seen the film, (it has been on my to-see list for a while), I did know the character and quote beforehand, which was in turn helpful in figuring out some of the extra letters. After that, the shading was not a problem. To fit that much hidden material into the grid was fantastic.  Thanks to Curmudgeon for the challenge.

Having never seen Blade Runner, and so never heard of Roy Batty, as the message began to emerge from the clues, I briefly thought we were looking for some royal battle or other. Eventually our old friend Google came to the rescue, so thanks to Curmudgeon for helping fill a gap in my education.

An excellent puzzle.

Wonderful puzzle, and excellent grid construction, I just marvel at the skill involved in that, getting so many thematic letters seeded.  I was initially surprised that the grid did not have rotational symmetry, but later could appreciate why, given the limitations imposed by thematic material.  This puzzle kept its secrets well hidden, managed to find the theme only at the very end, the end-game was truly an end-game. It appears that there could be 3 possibilities for the cell containing 2 letters, I chose one using a certain rationale, but am not sure if there's some other logic involved that's escaped me.  Nice workout, thanks.

There were 54 entries, of which 7 were marked incorrect. Our marker assures me that any solution of the missing letter were marked correct. The lucky winner , picked form the electronic hat was Pam Dudgeon, from Saxmundham, who will be receiving a prize of a copy of Chambers Crossword Dictionary next month.

A full solution is available at

You still have time to email a solution to this month’s challenge, Juggling Jellyfish by Chiffchaff.

The October Prize Puzzle will be Masterpiece by Craft. Craft is one of the many new pseudonyms that have emerged during the lockdown period.  After learning to solve cryptics as a teenager, from a thick book of Telegraph puzzles, Craft quickly progressed to advanced cryptics, and has been a keen solver for over 20 years.  Recent developments have given Craft the opportunity to "turn gamekeeper" and put into practice the ideas collected over those years.

This is Craft's first puzzle on, and eagle-eyed solvers may have spotted a similar debut in the September Magpie.  Craft would very much welcome feedback on either of these debuts.

Outside the grid, Craft is a parent to two young children and now lives in Wimbledon, having grown up in Cheshire.
I have followed with interest the huge success of Cracking the Cryptic, the YouTube channel run by Mark Goodliffe and Simon Anthony. They started by tackling cryptic crosswords but gained most of their following by solving sudokus. Now Simon, an accomplished gamer, has started to tackle the puzzle-solving video game the Witness.

It is interesting to note that Mark Goodliffe has been recorded in the Urban Dictionary with the verb ‘to goodliffe’.

Goodliffe (verb) the act of pencil marking all possible candidates in all cells of a sudoku before solving

I've run out of logical steps, so I'm going to goodliffe this sudoku, and hope to spot some patterns.
The results of the Azed Annual Honours List have been announced. Congratulations to Richard Heald for winning in a close-run competition. Richard ended up with 14 points, including two second places. In second place with 12 points were M Barley, Dr S J Shaw and R C Teuton.
On our CC Clue-Writing Competition the results of the July challenge, a clue to MACARONI, are out now. The winner was Joe Rees with this cue.

Tuck, Marian and co made merry (8)

In third place was Simon Griew with this clue.
Micra on rank accepts a fare in Rome

By a remarkable coincidence, Simon followed a link to Ximenes’s MACARONI competition in June 1957. There, also in 3rd place, was his father, E J Griew. This was a very touching coincidence for Simon, whose father died 25 years ago. In 1957 he would have been only 26.

Your challenge for SEPTEMBER is a STANDARD CRYPTIC clue to CICERONE (8) by the closing date of MIDNIGHT BST WEDNESDAY 29th SEPTEMBER.
It is looking increasingly likely that there will be a York S & B meeting next month. John Henderson has pencilled in the 29th and 30th October and is looking to see how many people would come. You can find much more information at this link
Alan Connor has interviewed the prolific setter Phi this month and it is very interesting. Phi, of course, is Paul Henderson, who had a puzzle on the Crossword Centre this year and has a record of over 1500 published cryptic crosswords. I first met him 20 years ago at the 2001 Listener/Azed Dinner. You might like to compare his photo
I always enjoy solving the Sunday Times cryptic crosswords with their team of setters, each with a different style. In fact, I have won 3 gold pens in the past 5 years from the crosswords. Crossword editor, Peter Biddlecombe, has produced a new collection which was published at the beginning of this month. The Sunday Times Cryptic Crossword Book 1 is a collection of 100 cryptic crosswords, at a bargain price of £6.99.
On Twitter, Daniel Peake, master quizzer and question writer for Only Connect, announced that he will soon be working as Assistant Puzzles Editor for The Telegraph.

Best wishes