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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Cryptic conundrums

We all know that knitting stimulates bits of the brain which supposedly means all of us knitters are brainier than anyone else. Or something like that. Well, maybe some of you could help out...

I have a penchant for the crossword of the cryptic kind. Every Saturday I have a bash at The Times and The Guardian with various degrees of success, but even if I don't finish it passes the time and de-stresses at the same time. Last weekend though I came upon the nonsense that is The Times' Listener Crossword. Now don't get me wrong, I'm no egghead but this was way beyond human comprehension!

Here is the introduction. That's right, the introduction! Never mind that you then have to work out the answers to the clues after you've tried to work out just what the heck the rules are! In the first place, you have to get past this:

"In the contest between solver and setter it is generally to be hoped that the solver will prevail. Here, however, the setter has concluded this will not happen.
Solvers must enter single digits in a region of 36 cells, using A=1, B=2,...Z=26; where letters from crossing answers conflict, enter the difference. A three by three region is key. In each of three additional cells a two-digit number is required which exceeds the letter-value or difference by a multiple of 26. In each of two special cells the same appropriate outline shape is indicated as the entry, although in different sizes; for each clue affecting these two cells, the number in parentheses does not match the answer's length.
A portion of the grid shows the outcome as predicted by the setter just before the solver's final effort, which the setter has deemed unlikely to succeed. Solvers must draw a curved arrow through letters forming an appropriate word and relocate one of the shapes; they will then be entitled to adjust the numbers in two cells (and must do so), thereby proving the setter wrong. The Chambers Dictionary (2008) is the primary reference, but one clue answer is defined in the context of the puzzle."


Eh?!????

Craig

6 comments:

Yvonne said...

My eyes crossed just trying to read that! You're on your own with that lot.

rockpoolcandy.com said...

Are you sure that this wasn't the crossword from April 1st?

Anonymous said...

Blimey! I'm confused b4 I start, lol. Em

fingersandtoes said...

I love crosswords, but that's ridiculous.

(if you ever wonder why me and Jenny often leave knitting group really early, it's to take our London Papers down to Marie's and try to finish the crossword. Not that we've done that in a while, hm)

Anonymous said...

The Listener crossword is notoriously difficult. I've seen worse examples of it. Real Bletchley Park stuff....

Brigid said...

My father used to do those. They originally appeared in the Listener magazine. I think the setter was called 'Ximenes'. My dad won a prize once - a tie with Xs all over it!