Posted by neildubya on September 11th, 2007
I thought I’d take this opportunity to address some issues that have come under discussion on the blog recently.
There have been a few occasions where we haven’t been able to blog puzzles, or where we’ve posted late, and this usually attracts some commments. I’ve explained this elsewhere but it’s worth repeating: if we don’t blog a puzzle it’s not because we can’t be bothered. It’s much more likely that real-life has got in the way somewhere along the line – you know, families, jobs – that kind of thing. Also, internet connections fail and sometimes people are sick. All of which can contribute to puzzles not appearing. It doesn’t happen very often and I know it can be annoying, especially if you’re a setter looking for some feedback or a solver needing some help but really, there’s not a great deal we can do about it. All I can ask is for you to be patient: if someone can blog a puzzle, they will. If no-one’s available, they won’t.
Commenting in the wrong place
This is sort of connected to the first point: we’ve had a few people asking about the whereabouts of a particular puzzle by adding a comment to another puzzle. Some other people reply to that comment and soon enough we have a mini-discussion happening in the wrong place. This is not a good idea for two reasons: first, bloggers are automatically emailed all the comments on their posts and they don’t want to read comments on other puzzles (well, they might, but they’d rather read them on the blog itself, rather than having their inbox clogged up); second, if the missing puzzle is finally blogged those comments are now in the wrong place and may not get read by others. So from now on, comments in the wrong place will be silently deleted. You have been warned. If you really can’t help yourself and absolutely have to enquire about a missing post (despite the first point above) send an email to [email protected]
We don’t explain all the clues in a given puzzle. The reason for this is explained elsewhere (I’ll give you a clue – it’s a question I’m frequently asked) but it can be a tricky business deciding which clues to explain and which to leave out. What’s obvious to some is impenetrable to others. If we haven’t explained a clue you’re stuck on or don’t understand please don’t post a grumpy sounding comment along the lines of “What about 5D?” or “You missed 17A and it’s driving me mad”. Instead, post the full clue complete with enumeration along with a polite request for assistance. That way, someone who didn’t solve the puzzle will be able to help you, as well as those that did.
It’s probably obvious by now that we simply don’t have enough people with enough time on their hands to blog all the puzzles we’d like to. So, if you’ve ever fancied trying your hand at blogging, now’s your chance. The first thing to say is that you don’t need to be a speedy solver; if you can finish most puzzles you start, that’s the most important thing, along with being able to explain most of the wordplay in a puzzle. It’s perfectly ok occasionally to say “I don’t understand this clue” (I do it all the time) or “I couldn’t get this answer”. If you’re interested, but not sure if you’ll be any good at it then the best thing I can suggest is just to try it: solve a puzzle and then sit down and write your own blog, in a similar style to what you read here. If you want a second opinion, I’ll be happy to read it, just send it to me at [email protected].
We need bloggers to cover the following puzzles:
Independent: we need two people to take a rotating daily slot and one or two subs to cover absences like holidays.
Financial Times: same as Independent – two people for a rotating daily slot and a couple of subs.
Beelzebub: currently covered by one person (me) so it would be useful to have one or two others to rotate it between.
Any others: if you’re interesting in blogging a puzzle that we cover but which I haven’t mentioned here, send me a mail anyway – we’ll probably be able to work something out.
All offers to help, questions etc should be sent to [email protected].