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Solving time 7:18

You'll have guessed by now that today is the centenary of the birth of John Betjeman. I'm pretty sure I know which Times setter is a big JB fan. I'd like to see a few more Times puzzles like this, even though I probably don't know enough JB to get all the jokes in this one.

For a while now, I've had a puzzle of my own in the works. You can try it here. I invented my own grid, but otherwise it's intended to be roughly in the Times style, maybe on the difficult side. Let me know what you think - maybe by e-mail if you want to go into detail.

5SLOUGH - 2 mngs, ref. "Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough / It isn't fit for humans now"
9NINE=square,TIES=games - cricket batsmen got through the "nervous nineties" just before scoring a century.
15ULEMA - hidden word
20JOHN BETJEMAN - anag. of J,J,both,Anne,me. Don't know when JB called himself a hack but I can imagine it.
26TENNER = "tenor" - JB's autobiog. was of course "Summoned by Bells"
27PROD,ROME - I haven't bothered to look it up, but I guess a prodrome is like a syndrome.

1CONK - 2 meanings
7UNBEATABLE - letter swap in unbearable
8Joan HUNTER-DUNN - "furnished and burnished by Aldershot sun" etc.
11TAXI,NSPECTOR = anag. of cops rent
13OUT OF JOINT - ref. quote from Hamlet
17BOMBARDED - cryptic def. referring to same poem as 5.

Jumbo 657: 20:58 - Jumbos seem a bit dull these days - I'm sure there were a few with themes a few years ago - all of Jane Austen's novel titles in one grid, for example. Puzzles like this are just more of the same stuff as the cryptic - especially when, like today's, the grid uses no entries longer than 15 letters. (Or the themes are too subtle for me to notice...)

Guardian has another posthumous Bunthorne today - not yet tried.


Aug. 28th, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC)
Re: 17d, 28.8.06
Quite so - I should have looked harder.