I’ve recently been checking out the livestreamed solving stream CrypticSundays. It’s fun to participate in a group solve, and this week they did my October puzzle. I never know how hard my clues are, so it was really interesting to observe the solving process. From the mix of fast and slow cracking, I guess maybe I’m somewhere in the right ballpark. Well, anyway, it seemed to go down well. You can re-watch it (from 1h01m) at https://m.twitch.tv/videos/545689402 .

Meanwhile, I’m afraid I don’t have an online puzzle for February for you. I’ve got behind with my clueing, and had other stuff to be dealing with.

However, I’m pleased to say that I do have a February puzzle out! It’s just that it’s in Feb’s issue of 1Across magazine, which is for subscribers only. Happy to be making my debut in a crossword magazine. Hopefully the subscribers will find something to like in it.

We met up last night for January’s Bristol Crossword Club meeting. Will suggested we try to solve the puzzle that had appeared in the recent BBC Dracula adaptation. (Story and link to puzzle here. Careful – the solution is printed upside down at the bottom of the page. Avert your eyes until you can cover it up.) It was quite a fun puzzle with appropriate answers. Then we had time to tackle one from a book of Telegraph puzzles I have. We managed to finish that one off too before the cafe started looking near-empty, and we took pity on the staff and left.

Next meeting is scheduled for Feb 11th, 19:30+, at Grounded again. We may try some setting again. So far it’s still just the two of us, so do come along and play. As ever, beginners are welcome, so don’t be scared if you’re new to cryptic crosswords. We’ll teach you how to get into them!

Sorry, I forgot to take a photo, so just imagine a felafel burger and some carrot cake, would you? Cheers.

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

I actually got some feedback on this one, so thanks to Matt, Panthera and Dave for that. It’s massively encouraging to even know that someone’s trying my puzzles. The general positive nature of the comments was nice too.

4d was picked up on as being a bit quirky, which is fair comment, but I think it was just about “fair”. 12 was almost exactly the same as a clue that went out in a puzzle in The Guardian published 2 days before mine. Pipped to it! I wasn’t sure if the definition in 8 needed a tweak or an added adjective, but nothing smooth came to me, so I left it. Didn’t seem to stop the solving. 27 felt a bit silly… but what’s wrong with a bit of silliness every now and then? 🙂 No-one mentioned it, but 22 was my favourite, for the surface. Then again the reference is quite obscure, so no surprises there.

Next meeting of the Bristol Crossword Club is this Tuesday, so do pop in if you’re local.

Happy New Year, all. What kind of idiot releases a crossword on New Year’s Day? Me, of course. Here it is. Scroll down for browser-solvable version.

I still have another puzzle pending a test-solve, but in the meantime, hopefully this one will be a gentle-ish start to the new year. Solution up this time next week. I’m not sure if I’ll carry on posting puzzles to my blog, as near absolute zero feedback is not encouraging. But I’ll carry on setting, and trying to get them published, for sure.

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

#TheVoidTLMB @TheVoidTLMB
CCM-crossword-TheVoidTLMB

The solution to my December 2019 puzzle is in an image behind this link.

There was some alignment with #D4B8 intended. Maybe 4 & 17 were my favourites.

County Cricket Matters is out now in print or download editions. Meanwhile, absolute last call for the Emergency Crossword. Right, January’s puzzle is just about ready for final checking, so time to move on to creating my next grid. See you next year. Hopefully.

#TheVoidTLMB @TheVoidTLMB

I’m finally going to have one of my crosswords in print. As I write, the new magazine County Cricket Matters is “out next week”, containing a cricket-themed puzzle from me. (It should be solvable for non-cricket fans too… at least that’s my intention.) The mag costs peanuts, so why not grab your copy right now, from here.

Before I get to this month’s crossword, earlier in the month I had an idea for an emergency crossword, but wasn’t sure if I’d find the time to get it done. At the Bristol Crossword Club, though, Will said he was up for doing some clueing and brainstorming with me, so after a couple of weeks, it made it out into the world. At the time of writing, there’s still time to solve the emergency. You can find this one on GoCrossword. (Requires iOS11+, or a new-ish browser. Solve online, or [File>Print] from the site menu.)

Meanwhile, I’d planned this month’s crossword to coincide with a TV show. I don’t normally do more than the odd cross-reference in my puzzles, but this one has a few. The referenced answers are intended not to be too tough to solve, to help with that. Let me know how you got on.

Answers will be up in a week.

#TheVoidTLMB @TheVoidTLMB
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Embedded playable puzzle: If relevant, use the cogwheel/settings menu to turn off the clock, and untick “skip over filled letters”, and the main menu to Save.

I had a puzzle up on Monday in Rookie Corner. (Go to the puzzle, or the comments/solution/spoilers.) It went down a lot better than my first effort there, with some nice comments on quite a lot of the clues. Still a few niggles here and there, but that’s the point of the exercise, to get better. Given the theme, the number of comments(at time of writing…) was pleasing too.

Meanwhile, last night was the second meeting of the Bristol Crossword Club.
BXWC-Nov2019
I arrived to find someone in mid-solve of a crossword. It turned out that that was just a coincidence, and he wasn’t there for the club, but we shared a table, and Will and I gave David some tips on getting your head around cryptics. We solved the i’s cryptic from that day and then made a start on writing some clues for a grid I’d created. We’ll see if that comes together or not.
Next meet is on 14th January, from 19:30 at Grounded. All welcome!

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

I started off trying to theme this puzzle around 10a, but couldn’t really get enough specific answers into the grid. So the theme slackened a bit, and I included things like 9a, 3d, 4d – generally “stuff becoming ever-more important”. Bit wishy-washy, but there you go. 10a was my favourite clue, aided by the fact that I realised I could falsely capitalise the H.

December’s puzzle is just about coming together. About 5 or so clues left that need a good hammering. I might take a break from it, and start a new grid today. Meanwhile, I’m going to have a puzzle published in a cricket magazine. More news on that when it’s out. And I should have a new puzzle in Rookie Corner soon too.

It’s the next meet of Bristol Crossword Club on Tuesday, and we may have a go at doing some setting.
TTFN.

Forward! Here’s my latest monthly puzzle. (Scroll down for browser-playable version.) Hope you enjoy it. Thanks to Soup for a test-solve, and some suggestions for tweaks and improvements. Feedback, comments and whatnot welcome as ever on email or Twitter. Solution will go up here in a week’s time.

Meanwhile, I have three (!) other crosswords in various pipelines. Hopefully at least one of them will surface shortly. All that lot means I’ve dropped back a little in my schedule, so I’m a touch behind on my December puzzle. Not too much though, so back to work on that…

Ciao!

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

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!