Crossword News March 2015

I was devastated to hear of the death of Trevor Crowther who passed away on the 27th February. Trevor was a dear friend and we have spent many a happy hour chatting, joking and talking about crosswords. He was a huge help to me in running the Crossword Centre website. His Monday Moan on the message board became the stuff of legend and, when he was forced to abandon it due to illness, it was greatly missed.

Trevor the Marker also ran the Prize Puzzle competition, organised the statistics and test-solved all of our Prize Puzzles for the past four years.

His funeral will be in Winchester Cathedral on March 18.

On our message board there were many tributes paid to Trevor and his family have really appreciated these comments. I posted a link to a photo of our first meeting five years ago
Last Month's Prize Puzzle was 1 Across by Rebus. The answer to 1 across was ANAGRAMMATIST and the six unclued words were all anagrams of each other.
The sentence made from redundant words could be - 'desert inhabitant insisted that one tenth of doctors and nurses harangue and tried to harm at one time' defining the entries CAMELID CLAIMED DECIMAL MEDICAL DECLAIM MALICED.

Here are some of the comments.

A nice idea which proved surprisingly difficult to spot – so thanks to Rebus for that challenge!  Once the penny dropped, all became clear except I still haven’t worked out the wordplay to 34.

We haven't found this easy at all as we don't have all the 18 words that give definitions and were perhaps lucky to realize that we were dealing with anagrams of MEDICAL. Still, it was an enjoyable solve and an entertaining idea. With thanks to Rebus.

Nice crossword - not totally certain about where the last 'extra word' is but clues (definitions/wordplay) fair, though maybe 'here'='Sweden', 'captain' = 'Ahab' and 'side'='Everton' were a bit vague (if those are  the answers...). I didn't know 'matador' was a card, good spot that one, puzzled me for quite a while.

There were 51 entries and they were 100% correct. The lucky winner was Mike Lunan from Thurso who will soon be receiving a prize donated by Chambers.

This month's Prize Puzzle is Voyage by eXternal. This must be a tricky puzzle with only 15 entries so far but you have lots of time to get your solution to me by 8th April.

Next month our monthly challenge will be 19 and 8 by Serpent which I am sure will amuse you greatly. There will also be another maths special in April, Pot Black by Oyler is a fascinating test of logic in a snooker match.

Since my request for new submissions I have been pleased to see some new puzzles arriving in our pipeline. We look to be OK until June for monthly puzzles.
The Listener Crossword Setters' Dinner was held in Harrogate on the last day of February. The Old Swan Hotel was an excellent venue and situated right in the centre of the town only a short walk away from the afternoon pub, The Bell Tavern. By late afternoon our room in the pub was full and there was a very friendly atmosphere.

The evening meal was very nice and was enlivened by two competitions, a quiz from Enigmatist and a picture puzzle from Ferret.

The leading all-correct solver was David Webb who received the Solver's Silver Salver. He told us that there were 16 all-correct solvers who each could vote for the best Listener crossword of the year. The was a divergence of opinions in the voting, with 28 different puzzles receiving a vote and nine voted best. In the end there was only one point between first and second.

In reverse order the top six puzzles were.
5= Spiral of Salami and Walnuts by Wan
5= Renewal Energy by 'Eck
4 Going out in Style by Homer
3 Tetris by Aramis
2 Feature Film by Ferret
1 Elementary Deduction by Rood

Rood is a collaboration between Shark (Darren Roberts) and Nudd (John Hood). Darren was present at the dinner and stepped up to take the Ascot Gold Cup.

The Radix Auditorum was presented for the first time to the best new solver. Steve Bartlett had been solving the Listener for some time but only decided to post an entry last January. Since then he has been all-correct!

John Green was on hand with stamps and envelopes for the statistics. These should be available soon although Jago announced that this year the Times was unwilling to pay for the photocopying and made a plea for someone to take it on.

After the dinner the chat went on in the bar until the early hours. It was great for me to meet friends old and new and I made it until 2am!

Next year the Listener do will take place in the south of England and mention was made of Windsor or Maidenhead.

The photos that I took are available at
The first qualifier puzzle for the 2015 Times Crossword Championship will be published on Wednesday April 15
Thanks to John Tozer for pointing out this article about the Bletchley code-breakers and their palindromes.

Best wishes