Saturday, 27 February 2016

Emu's debut.

Something a bit different today - I've written a crossword. If you're in Britain, it's published in today's Times, on page 54 of the Saturday Review section. It's also available online here, although it may be behind the Times' paywall. And here's a picture of it.



As you can see from the extra instructions at the top, The Listener is a bit more complicated than most crosswords, with extra rules to follow, messages to find, and an overall theme to discover. Personally, I think that makes them far more rewarding, but they do take a bit of getting the hang of, so if you haven't tried cryptic crosswords at all before, this probably isn't a good one to learn on. If you do give it a try, bear in mind another thing that makes The Listener tricky is that the setter has license to use any word or abbreviation found in The Chambers Dictionary, however obscure; which makes the puzzle difficult, if not impossible, to solve without using that dictionary as well. On the plus side, if you use this site, then you can search for words using ?s as wildcards, so for instance typing ?R?S?W?R? will return 'crossword' (and indeed 'brushwork'). Some purists might call this cheating, but not me. I think it's fine.

If you do tackle it, let me know how you get on...


37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ooh, brilliant. Why 'Emu' as your codename? I mean - I'm aware setters pick noms de plume - just wondered what drew you to that one, if I can be nosy and enquire :)

I shall now go and have even more fun trying to solve it knowing you wrote it!

clanca1234 said...

Congratulations, John, on your Listener debut, and welcome to the Listener Setter's Club! I solved it this morning and greatly enjoyed it. I hope there are more to come. Does this mean we'll see you in Windsor next month?

Samuel

Mountainebony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mountainebony said...

Congratulations!

Stuart James said...

I like cryptic crosswords but can't get anywhere with this.. or even its instructions. Will the solution be posted here at some point?

MayFlower said...

(good day to you, sir, in all the ways Gandalf meant. i am shamelessly hijacking this lovely cryptic creation of yours to ask from you a huge[for me]/smallest of small[for you] favor for my best friend's birthday. in my dreams, it would be you, writing a Congratulations/signing a Cabin Pressure CD [that I buy] by the name of Arthur for her. Just a thought. If it was in any way possible [i don't mean to pry at your personal contact info, so it could go via bbc or anything less personal for you], I would continue to be an adoring fan [so not much there for you] and she would probably forgive me every stupidity ever just for the awesomness of that gift, so we would probably be friends for rest rest of our lives. lots of thanks for a response. May)

Alf said...

Well done John, I enjoyed your debut.

A fellow compiler.

Mash said...

Lovely stuff John - enjoyed it very much.
Had I known you were in the "club" when we came to see your warm-up gig at the Bridge House in January (also v. good btw) I'd have buttonholed you in the bar afterwards.
Now what a busy man like you really needs is more of the new drug, so with that in mind I'd love to send you a complimentary issue of the crossword magazine I co-edit. Our subscribers are pretty much those who want more Listeners - you get the picture.
I can get an email for you via my Listener contacts, but not without your permission, or you can mail me via aj@piemag.com.
Best wishes
AJ (Mash)

Dinks thinks... said...

Please can somebody send me a link to the crossword?

Hilary said...

Managed a third of it (Listener's a bit above my fighting weight). Handed it to a colleague who completed the remaining clues in about 30 minutes. I'm fine with that. Completely fine. Really, fine. But I enjoyed the end game...

Pete Forman said...

I'm a bit rusty on the Listener and have 7 answers come close of entries. I did send in 4386 but that was my first in years.

But thanks, I think. Emu for the challenge.

Peter Smith said...

Well... since you ask me for a comment, I found that to be a satisfyingly devious entertainment with just a touch of the macabre. You created some colourful garden paths with those clues and it was good to be reminded of the fictional source, too. With hindsight the instruction, "Each clue contains an unwanted character that must be eliminated," was a particularly nice touch!

Philippa Sidle said...

Thank you John for giving me permission to use the Chambers online cheat tool... I learned to do crosswords from my mum, who is a purist (she won't even look at jigsaw lids) and would look down on such expedients, if she knew how to use a computer in the first place. I saw this too late to get your Listener crossword, and I'm sure it would have been too difficult for me anyway, but I've had fun rediscovering 'ordinary' cryptics. Yet another distraction!

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Lu said...

I've always wanted to be able to do cryptic crosswords, and recently invested in a Chambers 2014 (up till now, my copy of Chambers was the 1962 edition, and was my mum's at university..!). So when I came across this post I thought I'd have a go at my first Listener. I have to admit to staring in horror at a blank grid for far, far too long, but (after a fair amount of teeth-gnashing) I've managed to finish it! I'll admit it took me bloomin' hours, and I definitely wouldn't have got anywhere without said dictionary, plus the end game was a struggle as I wasn't familiar with the source, but I've done it. Hurrah! Thanks for the Easter entertainment, John

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John, can I contact you regarding a localisation of the Cabin pressure show? And if yes, what is the best way to do it?

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Bonjour et merci pour votre contribution,puis-je vous soumettre une question : me permettez-vous de faire un lien par mail vers cet article ? Merci pour tout.essay writer

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John has just been on BBC Radio 4's "Just a Minute" comedy program, with Giles Brandreth, Paul Merton and the wonderful Sheila Hancock. A fine debut performance from Mr Finnemore.

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