Never knowingly undersolved.

Private Eye/Cyclops 400 – 16 years

Posted by beermagnet on September 28th, 2009


Number 400 Eh!
We only get 26 issues of this esteemed organ each year – if we’re lucky – so I reckon that’s 16 years that Cyclops has been working at the sharp end of scurrilous crossword setting.  So I will wish him well and say “Well done” to the old toe-rag.  Here’s to the next 400.

The perimeter gives:

This was something of a give away given the footnote which said
“NB. This is the 400th Cyclops crossword!”
“… the perimeter squares will spell out a suitable message”

I felt it may have been more fun to discover this Nina unprompted, indeed at time of writing the online version does not have the footnote.
It quickly became apparent what the perimeter said and this helped hugely with the rest of the solving.

8 SUBSIDIARY SUB (deputy) SI (is nobbled) DIARY (his, i.e. John Major’s, old Eye feature which was “The secret Diary of John Major Aged 47¾) and defined by an opposite: ‘Major wouldn’t describe this’, i.e. major is the not subsidiary. For some time I thought it was something to do with subsidiarity, the EU concept which was much talked about by John Major, but perhaps this is an accidental feature of the clue?
10 DELI E[lasticised] L[ingerie] inside DI (princess) On seeing the usual Princess Di wordplay I nearly wrote in ALDI
11 EISENHOWER (I.E.)< then EN (measure) inside SHOWER (worthless bunch)
12 RECLUSE R[ile] E[mbarrassed] C[onservative] L[eader], USE (employment)
13 STRIATE R (king) I (Cyclops) inside STATE
15 OLD TEAM (T[ime] A MODEL)* AInd: screwed. Initially pencilled in OLD MATE – soon fixed
17 OCTOPOD OCT (not much of a month) (POO)* AInd: shifting, D[ead]
19 WARDENS WAR (fighting) DENS (holes)
21 BALDRIC C[onservative] I RD (One Road) LAB (party) all reversed
26 OBEY OBE (award) [am]Y
27 SIKH IK[e] inside SH (quiet)
1 FUNEREAL FUN (relaxation) ERE (before) A L[abour]
2 OSCILLATED OS (very large) CILLA (singing Scouse) TED (PM once – Ted Heath)
4 RAGS RAG (scrap) S[trip]
5 HYPNOTIC (POINTY)* AInd: bust inside H[ot] and C[old]
6 UP TO UP (having an erection) T[urn] O[ver]
7 NEWEST hidden in HeseltiNE WESTland
14 I TOLD YOU SO (ODIOUSLY TO[ry])* AInd: dancing
16 AMNESIAC (A[ctor] M[ichael] CAINES)* AInd: rocky
18 OLIVE OIL OLIVE (a gurl) OIL (“Grease”)
20 ADAGIO I (Cyclops) inside A DAGO (naughty naughty)
22 ACTS UP ACT (be a luvvie) SUP (drink)
24 RUHR UH (what’s that you say?) inside RR (posh car – Rolls-Royce) Part of Germany well known to crosswordeers

8 Responses to “Private Eye/Cyclops 400 – 16 years”

  1. Harris says:

    We found this very enjoyable, but would agree that the message really didn’t need to be indicated in the preamble, as this made the puzzle significantly easier than normal. Eight across was the most interesting clue, we thought, and we learnt something new with ‘Baldric’.

  2. The trafites says:

    We missed the ‘nina’ all together!


  3. Nick says:

    I’ve been doing Cyclops since No 37 and have yet to be pulled out of the hat. Any idea how many entries they get each fortnight? And do email returns stand the same chance of winning? ;-)

  4. The trafites says:

    Nick, good point. I submit via e-mail using the ‘acrosslite’ software (after we solve the puzzle on paper), so never know how they select the ‘winner’.


  5. Nick says:

    My hunch is that the email entries aren’t even checked. Why do I say that? Private Eye has never used my email address for marketing purposes.

  6. beermagnet says:

    I’m not surprised to hear people missed the Nina – you don’t expect to find them in the Eye, except at Xmas.
    I often miss Nina’s in the Indy even when I look closely.

    I too enter by email and have done for about 5 years – I just send a tiny text with the answers in the style of the “last week’s answers” as under the crossword in the mag. I have been known to mistype them – but not so much since doing this blog.
    I too am waiting for my first win.
    A couple of years ago I sent a message saying something like “please just reply to prove someone reads these” – I’m still waiting for a reply. No surprise really. I figure they do the equivalent of putting all entries in a hat and picking one, and only then looking at the mail – GOK how much spam mail that mailbox must attract and how they filter that out given the nature some of the answers.
    Nevertheless I still send by email as it’s something of a habit.

  7. Cyclops says:

    [Yes, this really is from ‘Cyclops’!]
    I view this forum often but have decided not to make postings. However, I think I should comment on questions raised about the fairness of Private Eye’s treatment of email (as opposed to postal) crossword prize entries.

    I do know the Eye team is careful to ensure that both types of submissions are considered on equal terms. My understanding is that the number of email submissions is about the same as postal ones. So, each issue, a random selection is made to determine which type goes into the ‘draw’. If it’s emails, the prize winner is chosen by ‘blindly’ scanning up and down the list of messages for that issue and clicking on the lucky solver’s message. This system seems quite fair to me and as good a method as is reasonably practicable – which is my way of saying I’m not going to get into further discussion on the matter!

    It’s true that not all email submissions are read – but this applies to postal ones too. So, as you’ll gather, any comment/ complaint/ tribute(!) included with your crossword entry probably won’t get seen. You’d need to send a normal letter to the mag. or email [email protected].

    Oh, about the ‘nina’ in puzzle 400: I didn’t intend the “giveaway” preamble included in the print version to be published. It was just a throwaway comment I put in my covering email to the Eye.

    Finally, since this belated posting of mine might not get read by many of you, I’ll repeat it when Eye 401 is reviewed.

  8. sidey says:

    Hello Cyclops! Thanks for the puzzles.

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