My friend Stuart organised the second BJC in Bath, in 1989. He recently dug out some old clippings, and asked me to put them online, for any archive-minded juggling historians to peruse. (The BJC history wiki is a good place to start.)

So, here you go Stuart, and everyone!
(Right-click and download the files):
Newspaper article 1 (before the convention) JPGs: Small 118KB  Medium 1MB  Large 3MB
Newspaper article 2 (before the convention) JPGs: Small 900KB Medium 2MB Large 15MB
Newspaper article 3 (after the convention) JPGs: Small 190KB Medium 4MB Large 10MB
Thank-you letter 1 JPGs Small 550KB Large 2MB
Thank-you letter 2 JPGs Small 1MB Large 4MB


The solution to my February Cryptish Crossword is in an image at this link. There was a theme to this one, which you no doubt spotted. I did offer the puzzle for publication to someone I thought appropriate, but apparently no-one answers their email anymore. *sigh*

18A riffed on a weak joke I make everytime I’m driving in Suffolk. 11A was my favourite, although I found 14A pleasing. I really liked using “Occam’s Lathe” in one of the clues originally, but couldn’t quite make it parse correctly as a clue, so Killed My Darling.

I’m having a new puzzle published on a crossword blog tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll get some useful feedback.

The solution to my January Cryptish Crossword can be viewed in this image.

I had this puzzle ready in the dying days of 2018, but couldn’t publish it until Jan 1st, without invalidating one clue. I decided to wait another day to let heads clear. Interestingly, on the day I published, I read an article via Twitter, which mentioned a connection between 17A and 8A which I was previously unaware of. I’m not sure if that’s pleasing or annoying! Let’s be positive and say the former.

I liked both 25D and 26D, although I can see why others might dislike them. 29A might be my favourite. No reaction, so I don’t know what people thought of this one. Hey ho. As always, I’m on Twitter for complaints, comments, enthuses or shares. Ciao.

[Edit: This is one of my early crosswords, where the clue “surfaces” don’t always make sense. Sorry about that. πŸ™‚ For “proper” cryptic puzzles, skip to March 2019 and onwards.]

Here’s my January puzzle.
Quite a few 4s in this one, so maybe it’s a touch easier? Blockiness reduced to just four 2×2 squares. Hopefully tolerable. One clue might annoy some, but there you go. As always, feel free to let me know via Twitter if you’re trying/done it/liked it/hated it, and RT/share if you like.
Cheers, enjoy!

Cryptish Crossword January 2019 by @TheVoidTLMB

Sunday, there are a few records in the charts you want to hear, but everyone’s waiting for 7 o’clock. It’s the Annie Nightingale request show. I never wrote in, but always loved the humour and stories shared between the listeners and Annie. (Did the songless Rebeccas ever get a tune? Whither green ink? How do you spell “The Murks/Mercs/?”? Where are all the Durannies now?) I’ve got loads of tapes of songs I recorded from the show, but when I saw Annie tweet that “most of the request shows were wiped. I have no copies.”, I thought “oh, complete shows? I’ve got one!”. On digging out my cassettes, it turned out I had four complete shows.
cassettes of Annie's shows
Great! Now to dig out a walkman. Oh, it doesn’t work anymore. No problem, I’ve got a spare one. Oh, that doesn’t work either. So a couple of days later, it was off to Argos to splash out on a brand new Β£17 walkman. Cheap as bananas, but… it works.
three walkman players - one worked
Now to plug everything into my Mac, and capture with Audacity. Seems like a couple of the shows were recorded at a touch too high level, so there’s a bit of blast at the top, but it’s listenable.
audacity software screenshot
What a trip down memory lane to listen to these! Turns out that I always think of the words “MOno SOdi-um GLU-ta-mate” in that particular cadence because of Toyah’s “Creepy Room”. I’d totally forgotten that track. Who remembered the “neckless men in blazers and cravats”? Or Mr Murray’s daftness? Wow.

Well, Annie, thanks so much for all the great tunes, the memories, and I’m delighted to be able to respond to your official BBC request (well, that’s how I’m taking it) by giving you something back. So for The Kamikaze Pilots, Magazine, for Christina’s Is That All There Is?, for The Ramones, The Blue Nile, for Here And Now and It’s A Fine Day, for The Passions, for Fish Heads and This Mortal Coil, for Wood Beez, Split Enz, for Siouxsie, Janis and the Cocteaus, Germans, Prince Buster and The Icicle Works, and all the rest, Merry Xmas, Annie, you legend.
With love, from The Void. x

Captured to AIFF, compressed to 256kbps .m4a AAC files.
Control-click and download, folks. Please don’t stream them on (Apple) devices that won’t save files (save my bandwidth!):
Annie Nightingale 1984 Halloween Special Pt1 94Mb
Annie Nightingale 1984 Halloween Special Pt2 93MB
Annie Nightingale 1984 Halloween Special Pt3 50MB
Annie Nightingale 2nd Anniversary Show Pt1 88MB
Annie Nightingale 2nd Anniversary Show Pt2 91MB
Annie Nightingale 2nd Anniversary Show Pt3 61MB
Annie Nightingale 1984 Special Pt1 61MB
Annie Nightingale 1984 Special Pt2 88MB
Annie Nightingale 1984 Special Pt3 91MB
Annie Nightingale 1985 Special Pt1 61MB
Annie Nightingale 1985 Special Pt2 93MB
Annie Nightingale 1985 Special Pt3 41MB
Annie Nightingale 1985 Special Pt4 45MB

The solution to my December Cyptish Crossword can be viewed here.

The grid was still a little blocky, so a few clues can be fully “solved” just by solving all the cross-clues. Something to try and improve in future grids. My next grid is filled, with a little light theming too. Not sure if it’ll be my next Cryptish though, as I may try to find a nice home for it elsewhere.

Meanwhile, back at the December puzzle, there were a few clues I’d had saved up that fitted in here. One clue had a trap. I wonder if anyone fell into it. A reasonable range of clue-types, I think, and I don’t think I overused any one type this time. Possibly I even underused one type. Hey-ho, that’s variation for you. I liked 42A and 37D. A little light reaction on Twitter.

[Edit: This is one of my early crosswords, where the clue “surfaces” don’t always make sense. Sorry about that. πŸ™‚ For “proper” cryptic puzzles, skip to March 2019 and onwards.]

Here’s my December puzzle.
Cryptish Crossword December 2018 by @TheVoidTLMB

I haven’t yet found a way to use Mac software to embed a solvable grid (that also works on iPads) in my blog. Let me know if you know how I can do that, please. (I’m using CrossFire.)

I’ve been wondering… should I explain my clues? After all, if I do a crossword in a newspaper, you don’t have the setter available for consultation afterwards. Just the solution posted a week later, from which you have to work out why the answers fit the clues. And if I do explain, will that mean people get to know my setting style quicker? …Rather than puzzling it out slowly as they go along. (Much as I’m doing myself!) Then again, there are blogs out there which explain some puzzle solutions. I’m not sure. I’m leaning towards silence.

Feel free to share the link or RT/Like/comment on Twitter, if you enjoy it.

The solution to my November Cryptish crossword can be viewed here.

I was reasonably happy with this one at first, but after I’d published it, I realised that I’d used one type of clue 6 times, which was probably too many. Also, 21D, 36D and 42D could all have been made a little better, I think. 41D and 44D were both fairly easy, but they raised a smile, I’m told. I originally had the clue for 1D as half as long, but decided that if you didn’t get the reference (which was already slightly veiled), there was no way of working it out (aside from guessing with the checked letters), so I added the second half.
25D was probably my favourite.

Unfortunately it only got to 4 retweets, so I withdrew the prize offer. But on the plus side, I did get some interest on twitter. Thanks retweeters, and it was also good to hear from Helen, Anna & Richard that they were having a go. (I think you finished it, Richard?) I did receive a completed grid from Mikey (who’s not on Twitter) by email, but he had solved 7A as “Lan”. Actually, it’s a good solve of the clue (and one I hadn’t thought of), as it’s inside “garland”, and can be argued to be a circle. Unfortunately, that makes another clue end up incorrect. Mikey did work it out though.

I’m working on my next one. The grid’s completed, but only a couple of clues are written so far. I might release it this week.

[Edit: This is one of my early crosswords, where the clue “surfaces” don’t always make sense. Sorry about that. πŸ™‚ For “proper” cryptic puzzles, skip to March 2019 and onwards.]

Well, I might not be getting much feedback, but at least I’m still enjoying setting crosswords. I also started following a few more setters and crossword bloggers on twitter. Hmmm, there’s a hell of a lot of crossword talk out there. I’m not sure how interested I am in reading it though. I suppose I’ll get sucked in, and I’d better be ready to admit that I’ve still got a lot to learn.

Meanwhile, here’s another one with a Β£5 bounty for charity. As I type, the prize is currently still available, so go get it, follow and retweet. Then solve it!

Solution one week after the 5th RT happens.

Right, that’s this blog up to date. Give me a shout on twitter if any of this is of any interest.