Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Archive for January, 2007

Inquisitor #2 – ALTERNATIVES by PLOY

Posted by loonapick on 19th January 2007

loonapick.

I have never come across the pseudonym Ploy before, so I don’t know who compiled this highly topical puzzle. I got off to a very quick start, realising that certain squares had two possible letters, one forming a part of the across answer and one forming part of the down. The pattern emerged as a diagonal which gave two words or phrases reading top-right to bottom-left and bottom-left to top-right.

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Posted in Inquisitor | 1 Comment »

Guardian 23977/Brummie

Posted by linxit on 18th January 2007

linxit.

We had an excellent night out in London last night with bloggers from here and Pete Biddlecombe’s Times for the Times blog, Tony Sever (RTC2) and a few setters too. A possible side-effect is that this puzzle took me over half an hour this morning! Or maybe it’s quite tough, I can’t really tell.

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Posted in Guardian | 8 Comments »

Sloggers and Betters – The morning after…

Posted by neildubya on 18th January 2007

neildubya.

Last night’s gathering was thoroughly enjoyable. We had a few drinks at a pub in Charlotte Street before heading off to the world’s most crowded tapas restaurant, also in Charlotte Street. We were given a sneak preview of a puzzle that will appear in the Independent next month and I think some people had a RTC Times2 contest – I was at the other end of the table so I can’t be sure what exactly was going on. Prizes were awarded to the two bloggers that had travelled the furthest to be there – Ilan Caron  (Seattle!) won, nmsindy (Ireland) came second. Some photos of the evening will appear here soon, once I’ve negotiated image rights with the various subjects.

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Posted in Announcements | 3 Comments »

Independent 6320/Monk – Come Dancing

Posted by neildubya on 18th January 2007

neildubya.

I usually find Monk quite difficult but this wasn’t too tricky. I guessed the phrase that appears in the unchecked letters on the sides of the grid fairly early on so I filled in all the missing letters, which then helped me get 13A, 17A, 27A and 28A. Odd choice of phrase though; maybe it’s one of Monk’s favourite films…? Anyway, what’s so impressive about the Independent crossword, and this setter in particular, is the willingness to try out new ideas (like that in 1A) which are instantly accessible to new and experienced solvers alike. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Independent | 3 Comments »

Independent 6320 / Dac – Dodgy Underwear

Posted by tilsit on 18th January 2007

tilsit.

Solving time: 18 mins 

 (Apologies for the late posting, a misunderstanding in an email to blame!)

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Posted in Independent | No Comments »

Sloggers and Betters

Posted by neildubya on 17th January 2007

neildubya.

Tonight sees the first get-together of some of the contributors to Fifteensquared, Times for the Times and the new RTC Times2 blog, with a few setters thrown in for good measure. It’s the first meeting of crossword people that I will have been to so I’m looking forward to putting some faces to names. If someone brings along a digital camera I may post some pictures of the evening here.

Posted in Announcements | No Comments »

Guardian 23,976 – Guess the Setter?

Posted by loonapick on 17th January 2007

loonapick.

For early birds, the online version of today’s puzzle provided the solver with a challenge – “Guess the Setter”. The setter’s name didn’t appear in the crossword heading, however it did appear in one of the clues. Even before I made a quick visit to the newsagent to check, I had worked out who the compiler was from the nature of some of the clues. You can always rely on Paul to provide some adult humour, and it was there again today. 

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Posted in Guardian | 3 Comments »

Independent 6318 by Virgilius – couples

Posted by nmsindy on 16th January 2007

nmsindy.

Whether it was deliberate after the Bannsider debut yesterday, this was very straightforward.   I’d everything, except one, solved in 12 mins, but that took me another 10 mins to get so solving time was 22 mins.

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Posted in Independent | 4 Comments »

Guardian 23975/Brendan – back to the books

Posted by ilancaron on 16th January 2007

ilancaron.

A literary feast with clever use of grid geometry. I was helped by incidentally having a copy of “The New Yorker” next to me with the name JULIAN BARNES (1A, 4A) on the cover. Some very clever wordplay with a nice touch of humour.

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Posted in Guardian | 4 Comments »

Independent 6317 / A warm welcome to Bannsider

Posted by tilsit on 15th January 2007

tilsit.

Solving time: 43 minutes 

 I rushed to the paper this morning to see who would be the author of today’s challenge and was surprised to spy a new name Bannsider.  First thought is to the identity of our new tormentor and I wonder if it could be a Listener setter and genius solver.  I then start to look at the puzzle and all notions of a gentle Monday stroll are quickly evaporated.

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Posted in Independent | 13 Comments »

Guardian 23974/Rufus – unfaulty

Posted by ilancaron on 15th January 2007

ilancaron.

I did the Times2 Concise today which is why “unfaulty” is on my mind. As per usual, I find Rufus’s style to be clean, with good surfaces and not very complicated wordplay. I tend to enjoy his puns which can be rather more subtle than might appear at first blush (e.g. 1A).

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Posted in Guardian | 4 Comments »

Everyman 3145/Jan 7 – Polchard and neroli

Posted by ilancaron on 14th January 2007

ilancaron.

A leftover xmas clue (7D) and two new words. The nice thing about Everyman is that Chambers isn’t strictly necessary usually if you have the courage of your wordplay convictions: e.g. POCHARD and NEROLI. By and large, an everyday puzzle though with one refreshingly clever clue at 2D.

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Posted in Everyman | No Comments »

Independent 6310/Monk – In addition

Posted by neildubya on 13th January 2007

neildubya.

Even before you’d filled in a single answer, you knew that there was something else going on in this puzzle: the plus signs in 2 across and 2 down clues, 8 more in the unchecked squares going through the middle of the grid and great big one formed by black squares in the middle of the grid. The clues with + signs in them were special in that answers were anagrams of each other: RELIANT, RATLINE; RAMBLED, MARBLED; REBOUND, BOUNDER and ELAPSED, PLEASED. Then it emergedn that the unchecked squares with + signs in the corner were filled with the letters ANAG and RAMS. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was even more going on which I’ve missed. An excellent puzzle, with just the right amount of difficulty for a Saturday. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Independent | 2 Comments »

Guardian 23,967 / Pasquale – ceci n’est pas facile

Posted by petebiddlecombe on 13th January 2007

petebiddlecombe.

Solving time 13:30

Quite tricky this one – partly because of 22,11,12 which I didn’t get until many checking letters were in place – “C _ C _ / N _ _ _ / _ _ _ / U _ E / _ I _ E” says the scribbling at the bottom of the page. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Guardian | 1 Comment »

Independent 6315 / Phi A Pleasant Stroll

Posted by tilsit on 12th January 2007

tilsit.

Solving Time: 19 minutes

When you are under the weather, the last thing you need is a nasty ferocious puzzle to make you feel worse.  Phi’s puzzle breezed in and contained lots of nice make-you-smile clues, which left me relaxed in my sickbed.  When I first saw the grid, I hoped to find a nice messsage round the perimeter, but sadly this was not to be.  However this has left me feeling comfortable and relaxed for the weekend, until I find out what the Listener looks like later, and a relapse will set in.

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Posted in Independent | 4 Comments »