Crossword News February 2017

The January Prize Puzzle was Sad by Chalicea. This puzzle was based on the six word novel attributed to Ernest Hemingway. Extra letters gave SIX WORD STORY AND WRITER TO WHOM IT WAS ATTRIBUTED requiring solvers to highlight FOR SALE BABY SHOES NEVER WORN and ERNEST HEMINGWAY. A full solution and notes are available at

There were 68 entries and only one was adjudged incorrect. The marker fairly decided that there was only one noteworthy Hemingway and marked entries correct if that was highlighted.

Here are some of the comments.

Thanks to Chalicea, whose puzzles always find an interesting theme, and whose clueing is fair and never dull. It took me a little while to spot the theme after I’d completed the grid. Hemingway appeared fairly early on, but I got fixated on The Old Man And The Sea after noticing THE and SEA in the downs, and deciding 6 x 3-letter words made good thematic material. I finally recalled the 6-word story attributed to Hemingway, but had to Google the exact wording. It made a satisfying denouement to the puzzle.

This was quite a nice offering with the customary helping of generous clues including lots of friendly anagrams. I might have felt a bit short-changed at any other time of the year, but coming as it did during a hectic spell it was just enough to provide a brief interlude. My thanks to Chalicea

I wasn’t aware of this literary invention, though I think if it had been cobbled up by Joe Blow in a Key West bar it might not have quite the staying power conferred upon it by a more celebrated boozer.  My favourite in not-quite-the-same-genre was a prizewinner in a New Statesman competition donkey’s years ago where a story was to be told using the titles of three films:
On the Beach
A Farewell to Arms

You still have time to complete our February Prize Puzzle, Nicene Creed by Flowerman.

The lucky winners picked from the electronic hat were Albert & Gail Busza who will soon be receiving a prize donated by Chambers.

In March there will be two puzzles to entertain you. After a long absence Urchin returns to give us his Bottomless Cubes. This reworking of a famous Listener crossword  certainly tested our testers! There is also Primes by Gnomie which is a lovely logical maths puzzle.

As usual we welcome submissions. All puzzles will be tested sympathetically. Remember to send puzzle and solution in separate documents and we prefer Word (.doc) format.
On the 11th March lots of crossword setters will be assembling in Gateshead for the annual Listener Dinner at Jury's quayside hotel. I shall be there and I am looking forward to meeting friends old and new. It has become a tradition for people to meet on the Friday evening and Saturday afternoon in a nearby pub. Although pub has not been decided yet, John Henderson has promised to announce it on the Crossword Centre message board after he has done a recce on the Friday morning.
The New York Times celebrated the 75th anniversary of its crossword on the 15th February. You can read more about it and watch a video at this link.
You may know that I occasionally tweet as @dzharrison. I thought you'd like to know of other crossword enthusiasts who have Twitter accounts. Here is a list but you may want to suggest others.
John Henderson, Inquisitor editor and setter @enigmatistelgar
Richard Rogan, Times crossword editor @timescrosswords
John Tozer of &Lit and the Azed Archive who posts a clue of the day @AndlitTwit
Dean Mayer, Anax etc @anaxcrosswords
Chris Lancaster, EV editor @SamuelTheSetter

Best wishes