Crossword News February 2015

Last month we had Exchange III by Regson. The theme of the puzzle is Daphne DuMaurier’s “The Scapegoat”, in which the narrator John (surname not given) swaps identities with Jean (De Gué). In the final grid, JOHN and JEAN (symmetrically placed) exchange places (leaving real words). The extra letters derived from wordplay gave SCAPEGOAT in the across clues and DU MAURIER.

Here are some of the comments.

Hats off to Regson for a perfectly pitched puzzle - just challenging enough and the final reveal was very satisfying.

Had some trouble finding the extra letters, and also found 3d/9a difficult to solve. I then spotted JEAN and J.HN in the grid and realised they could change places. This enabled me to solve the missing clues and a google search later had found the novel - which I'd never heard of before.

Seven down may have me stumped but many thanks to Regson for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle.  There were many cunning wordplays and some jolly clues.  My favourites were Sink full of American greens and Sally leaving Jack - you can ask her for advice.   Finally, on behalf of all those like me who sorely are deficient in spotting significant objects in completed grids, grateful thanks to Regson for the "characters" being names.  A very clever theme.

There were 42 entries. Five entries were marked wrong, mainly for changing JOHN to JEAN but NOT vice versa. The lucky winner was Sandra Nicholson who will soon be receiving a prize donated by Chambers.

This month we have One Across by Rebus. I am sure you will enjoy this and you have until the 8th March to send your entry.

Next month we have a treat for solvers who enjoyed the recent Listener Crossword Following the Brief by eXternal.  Voyage by eXternal should be out by the end of February. This ubiquitous compiler appears as  eXternal for Independent, Inquisitor, Listener, ARTEXLEN for FT, proXimal for Telegraph Toughie, Enigmatic Variations, Boz for Herald (Tuesdays) and Claymore for The National (Thursdays)!
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Sad news for us this month was the announcement of the death of Barry Roe, better known as the setter BeRo. He set 20 Listener crosswords and 13 Enigmatic Variations and was a regular attendee of Listener Dinners. His cheerful presence will be missed at the 2015 dinner later this month.

If anyone would like to make a donation in Barry’s memory, this can be sent to Vista, c/o F L Mildred & Sons, 129 Leicester Road, Wigston, Leicestershire LE18 1NS.  Mildreds are the funeral directors, and Vista is a charity which Barry supported, working with children and adults with sight loss.

At the funeral a photographic memoir of Barry's life, created by his cousin Colin, was handed out. If any of his friends or crossword fans would like a PDF version please send me an email and I can send you a copy.

I understand that there is one more of BeRo's puzzles in the Listener pipeline which will be published posthumously.
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The Listener Crossword Setters' Dinner will be taking place on the 28th February in the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate. In the afternoon people will be meeting in the Old Bell Tavern which is only two minutes walk from the hotel. I shall be there, looking forward to meeting friends old and new. My report on the event and photos will appear next month.

Best wishes
Derek