For a while I’d been wondering if there was any mileage in a crossword club meeting in Bristol. There must be some cruciverbalists in this city. After having a natter with a tweeter, and noticing he was based in the same locale, I floated the idea, and he was up for it.
Bristol Crossword Club
So, last night was the inaugural meeting of the Bristol Crossword Club. Will and I met up in a late-opening cafe, chatted a bit about our respective crosswording escapades, and had a crack at each other’s puzzles. Then we teamed up to try that day’s Guardian Cryptic (from Nutmeg). We got to within 1 or 2 clues of finishing by the end of the night. (Solution and explanations are on the blog at fifteen squared, if you want them.)

A fun evening’s solve, so we’ve decided to do it again. We’re going to meet every 2nd Tuesday of each month, so next up, it’s 12th November, from 19:30, at Grounded in Redfield. Come along and join us. If you’re new to cryptic crosswords, no problem, we’ll teach you how to start solving them!

The solution to my October puzzle is in a png behind this link.

No-one won the fiver. Did anyone try? I enjoyed being able to use Spooner in this way in 4d. Perhaps 27 was my favourite, for the surface. I also liked 4a, but wonder if others would have been annoyed by it.

Meanwhile the crossword I submitted didn’t quite have a strong enough theme for the mag, so it’ll probably surface here as my November puzzle. Which leaves me plenty of time to work on strengthening my theming for the next one.

In other news, tonight is the inaugural meeting of the Bristol Crossword Club. Hopefully that’ll go well (if not large), and it’ll build.

It’s that time again. Here’s my October puzzle for you to enjoy/wrangle/love/loathe. Scroll down for the browser-solvable version.

£5 prize for the first correct solution sent to me by Twitter DM, or by email. (Offer ends at 14:00 8/10/2019, which is when I’ll post the solution.)

I had some positive feedback on the puzzle I submitted… hopefully that might emerge into the light soon. Comments on this one welcome, by email or Twitter (no spoilers!), as per usual. I think the 1Across forum might be going the way of all flesh soon, but it’s still there as I type.

Right then, off you go…

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Embedded playable puzzle: Use the cogwheel/settings menu to turn off the clock, and untick “skip over filled letters”, and the main menu to Save.

The solution to my September puzzle can be found here.

4, 7 & 16 were clues that had fallen out of previous puzzles, so this one was built up and around those. From which, you can deduce that they were my favourites. Shame about the double-unchecked squares, and from now on I’ll try my hardest to avoid having any of those. Third appearance for Ovid, who’s an excellent anagram on his own. 🙂

Here’s my latest puzzle, as printable png, or as in-browser solvable puzzle. Hope you enjoy. I hang out on 1 Across and Twitter, if you want to give any feedback. The solution will go up on this blog in one week’s time.

I’ve recently submitted a puzzle for possible publication somewhere. Hoping to hear back about that soon…

Use the settings menu to turn off the clock, and skipping over letters. Remember to use Save in the menu if you have more than one session at it.

The solution to my August crossword is in an image behind this link.

Three answers were nods to specific people (*waves*). 5 was quite horrible to clue, but I liked where I got to in the end. 21 has a bit of dated knowledge required, maybe not one for the young’uns, but I didn’t want to go with the more obvious reference. 18 was my favourite. Right, toodle-oo!

Edit: Oh, I’ve just noticed that there’s a Nina down there. Entirely unintentional, but perhaps it was a subconscious tribute to Rutger Hauer. (It’s not easy being a dolphin.) And well done if you get any of those references.

Edit 2: Oh blimey, there’s another one! Well, just about. How bizarre.

Here’s my August puzzle. I ended up having three puzzles on the go at once, and this was originally pegged to be my October puzzle, but I decided to move it up the queue. Any feedback welcome. I’ll be on holiday next week, but I’ll schedule a post with the answers to pop up next Thursday.

Here it is as a printable png, or a browser-solvable embed below (Use the settings menu to turn off the clock, and skipping over letters. Remember to use Save in the menu if you have more than one session at it.).

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In 2005, my friend Howie called me up. “Do you want a job?” The last time he’d said something similar, we’d ended up running a yo-yo company together for a while. This time I thought he was offering me a juggling gig. In a way, he was – he’d had the idea for a juggling video archive, where all the great juggling videos (and the average ones too) could be stored on one website. He knew I was into juggling video, and could write, so wanted me to run the social media side of things (not that we called it that back then) and help gather videos for the site. Some development got under way slowly, and jugglingarchive.com was launched with a holding page, and the promise of more to come. Neither Howie nor I were actually web developers, but Howie slowly turned himself into one, and after getting a little backing, buying some software and throwing spanners at it for a few months, we finally launched as juggling.tv in April 2007.
JTV's old front page
While there had been other aggregator sites, this was the first juggling-dedicated video hosting and playback site on the net. We got a good response, and people signed up, and started adding their videos. Meanwhile I’d been mining all the sources I could find for juggling videos, and persuading people to join and upload. It was going well. Of course, things move on the web, and we had bugs to fix and features to add, and in 2009, we had a major upgrade (mainly thanks to having the actual programming skills of David to call on for a good while) with widescreen, increased file sizes, HD, and much more. Looking back, alas, that may have been our peak.

When it was just Howie and I again, we didn’t really have the skills for major web development, and survived for quite a while with minor bug fixes and fire-fighting. Howie was moving on to bigger things in the real world, and eventually decided to leave entirely. I was left holding the fort, with occasional help with server-side tweaks. But the web was moving on too fast. We still had Flash for goodness sake. I had a really long list of improvements to make the site so much nicer, but lacked the skills to actually implement them. Sadly I just couldn’t persuade our backers to stump up for a programmer’s time, and nor could I afford it myself. So the day came when I said, guys, it’s do or die. And the word came back… die.

Well, not absolutely. As I type, I’m a few short hours from flicking the switches which will turn JTV into a static archive, so at least 10000+ juggling videos will stay around to _be seen_ (Howie always loved those underscores). It’s a sad day for me, but ah well, we tried, we did something, and for a long while, it was good. Thanks to everyone who helped along the way, and all the uploaders too.

Maybe one day the site will rise again. I hope so, but it will be without me if so, as my time there is now done too. I’ll leave you with one of my favourite videos from the site, the elegant and skillful Wang Hong.

Antipodist:Parasol & Rugs (Wang Hong) <-- Original JTV page.

The solution to my July puzzle is in an image behind this link.

I wondered too late, if starting 12 with “holds” might have been a slightly nicer surface. A bit of scrabble knowledge would have helped you with 10. I’m not sure if the definition of 21 was “war” or “of war”, possibly arguable, but if you don’t like one, you ought to be ok with the other. I wanted to have “declaration of war”, but it didn’t feel quite right. 25 didn’t necessarily need the brackets, but I liked the juxtaposition of topper with bowler, so I put it in. 18 & 29 were my favourites.

August’s puzzle is almost finished already, so I hope I can start a new one and get ahead of schedule again soon.

Here’s this month’s puzzle from me. Right-click to download printable .png file, or play in-browser at the bottom of this post (Use the cogwheel/Setting options to turn off the timer, and skipping over letters, if you prefer. Ignore the Submit button, it’s not a competition). The grid is a little over-crossed, ah well. August’s puzzle is well under way.

If you know anyone who wants to publish a monthly crossword, do send them my way. And if you think you get 50p’s-worth of entertainment from my puzzles, please feel free to paypal me on
the-bka@tlmb.net . (Sorry to ask, but times are hard. Obviously, it’s totally okay for you to carry on enjoying them for free.) ReTweets and the like help too.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy. Answers in a week. Chat to me on Twitter if you like…
Cheers!

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