Crossword News June 2015

Our Prize Puzzle in May was Seriously by Chalicea. Extra letters in down clues gave 'Letter two across clues'. Those letters said 'Turn on, tune in and drop out'. Timothy Leary's words'. Solvers needed to turn on (in LINO and ALBINO), put TUNE into FORD and RED and drop OUT from POUTER and ROUTING. TIMOTHY LEARY was to be highlighted.

As usual for Chalicea this was a very popular puzzle.

Total number of entries – 73

Correct entries - 58

Incorrect entries – 15

The main problem was having OGEE for AGEE at 21dn, which unfortunately accounted for 12 of the 15 errors.

The lucky winner out the electronic hat was Geoffrey Telfer of Baildon.

Here are some of the comments.

A number of fairly obvious anagrams to get started, but the grid was well on the way to being filled before I realised what the theme was all about, and was able to complete the thematic entries. Also AKU took a bit of searching for, to confirm 16 across. Thanks to Chalicea.

A theme I’ve encountered a few times in advanced cryptics but no less enjoyable for that. The preamble was a bit of a giveaway as the only place to look for instructions is going to be the clues - so after scanning the first letters then the second letters were the next step. It was good to see real words remaining after the adjustments - a good indication that you have got the right answer! Many thanks to Chalicea

A very interesting puzzle. Even after getting the hidden advice and getting the Hippie mantra, it took a bit of time to understand how "turn on, tune in and drop out" worked in context of the clues. Very well constructed, Chalicea! Kudos! Looking forward to more from you.

There is a full solution available at

This month you have the pleasure of solving our Round Robin VII. Remember to add a vote for your favourite clue to the solution. You have until the 8th July to send your solution.

Our Prize Puzzle for July will be A Bright Future by Vernon.
If you would like to submit a puzzle to the Crossword Centre then we expect the puzzle and a full solution with explanations of clues as two separate documents in .doc format. My old version of Word cannot cope with .docx.

We always try the puzzles cold and then offer sympathetic advice and suggestions to improve the clues. I am helped by having two fantastic testers, Frank Pasterczyk and John Nicholson, who has taken over since the death of Trevor Crowther.

A crossword creating software package such as Crossword Compiler or Sympathy is a huge advantage in filling the grid and writing clues but both are quite expensive. QXW is available for free and has the unique ability to create circular grids. See

Our free software is Henry Casson's Crossword Utility and it can create very neat grids. It is always downloadable at

The Guardian has just released a ten-minute documentary film about the setter Araucaria.

Much-missed and much-loved Guardian cryptic crossword setter John Graham (also known as Araucaria) died in 2013, appropriately revealing his terminal cancer to his fans through a series of clues. Possibly the only crossword setter who received fan mail, this documentary shot shortly before his death features Araucaria explaining his puzzle-making process and remembering a happy life spent in the countryside solving and setting crosswords for his adoring solvers on whom he had a dramatic impact.
My friends on Facebook already know that I am enjoying the game of Wordbrain which I play on my iPad as I watch television. I found out about it after a suggestion from Simon Long. Basically you have to find words in a grid which starts as 3 x 3 and goes up to 7 x 7 in the higher levels. On each game you know how many other people have solved the game. In the early stages this was about 11,000 but on my current 6 x 6 game it is only 78. I am sure it would be good fun for anyone who likes crosswords.

I shall be back next month with news about our special cup in memory of Trevor Crowther.

Best wishes
Derek Harrison