Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7922 / Hypnos

Posted by duncanshiell on March 6th, 2012

duncanshiell.

I have solved puzzles by Hypnos in the past, but I think this is the first one that I have blogged.

 

 

 

This was the kind of puzzle I really enjoy with a varied mix of types of clues and a theme that required a bit of lateral thinking.  However,  I suspect some people will take a different view, especially of one particular aspect of the theme.

The theme of today’s puzzle was WHISTLE-BLOWERs with two interpretations of the theme being explored in nine across answers.  One of the interpretations involved the afore-mentioned aspect, namely football referees. The other interpretation was focused on individuals who raised issues of accuracy, ethics and moral practice over management or government actions.  I thought there might have been an opportunity also to introduce musicians, but perhaps describing James Galway as a WHISTLE-BLOWER would also generate some flak.

There will be some solvers who feel that having to know the the names of football teams is bad enough.  Having to know the names of football players will be a step too far for a few more, but having to know the names of football REFEREES may well generate howls of derision akin to the abuse that at least two of the entries in today’s puzzle receive [or received] on a regular basis.   On the other hand, there will be a number of regular commenters on the Independent blog who will have had no difficulty with those particular WHISTLE-BLOWERs

There were some complex clues, with NOW AND AGAIN being built from six component parts, and WHISTLE-BLOWER from five.   In fact, I thought all aspects of the &Lit WHISTLE-BLOWER clue were excellent.  To balance these, there were a number of simpler constructs such as SCARLET, REPAIR and RODIN

I felt that the clues to the thematic individuals were easier than other clues in the puzzle.  I guess that would be deliberate on the part of Hypnos so that solvers could come up with a possible answer that they could then check by research if they weren’t sure that the answer was right.  I recognise, of course, that it is easier to do research sitting at home in front of a PC or reference books, than it is sitting in a bus, train or tube carriage.  Afternote: I note from the first two comments below that there is early antipathy to this puzzle. Perhaps it might have been better offered as a Saturday Prize Puzzle?

I knew of Julian ASSANGE, Clive PONTING and DEEP THROAT, and had vaguely heard of Frank SERPICO. I needed to do a bit of digging to confirm Jeffrey WIGAND and Joseph WILSON.  The referees caused me no trouble, as I have been known to make gentle comment on a referee’s ability, eyesight or parentage.  Pierre Luigi COLLINA is one of the few referees who seems to have managed to generate widespread respect and praise for his performances.  You should try googling Phil DOWD and  Graham POLL if you want to see the kind of comments that most referees generate!

It took me a while to solve the theme clue.  It was probably the 9th or 10th clue that I solved.  The puzzle certainly got a bit easier after that.

 

Across
No. Clue Wordplay Entry
1 Soft nurse almost needed for 9d (7)

ASS (fool; soft [soft = fool is not a definition I have come across before, but it is clearly shown in Chambers as soft=softy=fool]) + ANGEL (nurse) excluding the last letter (almost) L

ASS ANGEL

ASSANGE (reference Julian ASSANGE founder of Wikileaks, a website with a reputation for whistleblowing. He has also been in the news lately for other alleged activities)
5 Note about royal film for 9d (7)

SO (fifth note of the scale in sol-fa notation) containing (about) (ER [Elizabeth Regina; royal] + PIC [picture; film])

S (ER PIC) O

SERPICO (reference Francesco [Frank] SERPICO, a retired New York policeman who testified against police corruption in 1971.  SERPICO‘s actions came to greater prominence following the release of a film of the same name starring Al Pacino in 1973)
10 Part of Birmingham store I entered given a bombshell (10)

I contained in (entered) (ASTON [suburb of Birmingham, England] + SHED [store])

ASTON (I) SHED

ASTONISHED (surprised; given a bombshell)
11 Endlessly drab and old-fashioned 9d (4)

DOWDY (drab and old-fashioned) excluding the last letter (endlessly) Y

DOWDY

DOWD (reference Phil DOWD, football referee [whistleblower], primarily in the English Premiership)
12 Duellist’s assistants grabbing first of epees for fencing positions (8)

SECONDS (assistants) containing (grabbing) E (first letter of [first of] EPEES)

SECOND (E) S

SECONDES (a fencing term describing positions in parrying)
13 Northern town director is 9d (6)

WIGAN (northern [English] town ) + D (director)

 

WIGAND (reference Jeffrey WIGAND, former Vice President of Brown & Williamson [a subsidiary of British American Tobacco], who ‘blew the whistle’ on the manipulation and impact of the blend of ingredients in his company’s tobacco products.  His story was told in the film The Insider [1999] starring Russell Crowe, Al Pacino and Christopher Plummer)
15 Prohibits return of money and support for a drinker? (3,5)

BARS (prohibits) + LOOT (money) reversed (return of)

BAR STOOL<

BAR STOOL (a seat for a drinker; support for a drinker)
16 Marine creature consuming old Western fish (3,3)

SEAL (marine creature) containing (consuming) (O [old] + W [western])

SEA (OW) L

SEA OWL (lumpsucker; fish)
17 9d is secure defending musical players (6)

WIN (secure) containing (defending) LSO (London Symphony Orchestra; musical players)

WI (LSO) N

WILSON (reference Joseph WILSON, one time American diplomat, who was dispatched to Niger in 2002 to  investigate claims that Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, had acquired yellowcake uranium from mines in Niger.  WILSON found no evidence to support the claims. In 2003 he wrote a piece for the New York Times that queried actions by the [George W] Bush administration in respect of ‘evidence’ to support the invasion of Iraq.  A week after the publication of the New York Times article, WILSON‘s wife, Valerie Plame, was identified as an CIA agent by a writer in The Washington Post.  WILSON blamed the Bush Administration for planting the story about his wife.)  I think I have got the right WILSON here, but Wikipedia also mentions a Steve WILSON who entered a court action with a TV station associated with Fox News, over the activities of the Monsanto company  Finally there is also Grant WILSON who blew the whistle on alleged fraud at Bank of New York Mellon up to 2011.
19 British sailor with conspicuous wealth induging in gas? (8)

B (British) + AB ([able-bodied] seaman) + BLING (conspicuous wealth)

BABBLING (talking incessantly; indulging in  gas)
21 Traveller with voice in a fix (6) REP ([commerical] traveller) + AIR (voice) REPAIR (fix)
23 Produce excessively section of proverb earnestly (8) Hidden word in (section of) PROVERB EARNESTLY OVERBEAR (be too productive; produce excessively)
24 Take away coverage of vote for 9d (4)

POLL (to cut the hair, horns, top (of a tree), or edge (of a deed) from; take away coverage of)

POLL (vote)

POLL (reference Graham POLL, retired English Premiership and international football referee [whistleblower].  He was considered by FIFA to be the best English referee of his generation.  I suspect that not all fans would agree, but that’s football!  POLL is now an opiniated media pundit and newspaper columnist on all things associated with football refereeing, and more.) Triple definition
26 9d, hero with tape for broadcast in case of dissent (4,6)

(Anagram of [broadcast)] HERO and TAPE) contained in (in) DT (first and last letters of [case of] DISSENT)

D (DEEP THROA*) T

DEEP THROAT (pseudonym for the source of the Washington Post story about the break-in at the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate Building in 1972.  The story set in motion the events that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.  In 2002, DEEP THROAT was revealed as Mark Felt, an FBI Agent at the time of the break-in.  This is another story that was made into a film – All The President’s Men [1976] starrring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford.
27 9d creating stink about container (7)

PONG (stink) containing (about) TIN (container)

PON (TIN) G

PONTING (reference Clive PONTING, a senior British civil servant who revealed facts that contradicted the official version of the sinking of the Argentinian warship, General Belgrano, during the Falklands War in 1984)
28 Island in Australia for 9d (7) COLL (a Scottish island, west of Mull) + IN + A (Australia COLLINA (reference Pierre Luigi COLLINA, Italian and international referee [whistleblower].  COLLINA was instantly recognisable with a bald head [as a result of alopecia], and piercing eyes)
  Down    
2 Put into organised form sets strewn around unknown artist avoiding sun (11)

(Anagram of [strewn] SETS containing (around) [unknown in mathematics])  + MATISSE (French artist) excluding (avoiding) S (sun)

S (Y) STE MATISSE

SYSTEMATISE (put into organised form)
3 A second start almost characterising a romantic sort (7)

A + MO (moment; second) + ROUSE (start) excluding the final letter (almost) E

A MO ROUSE

AMOROUS (characterising a romantic sort)
4 Oppress network set around Northern county (5,4)

GRID (mesh) containing (set around) N (northern) + DOWN (reference County DOWN in Northern Ireland)

GRI (N) D DOWN

GRIND DOWN (oppress)
6 Present US footballer with a pained expression (5)

END (a player positioned at the extremity of the line of scrimmage in American Football; US footballer) + OW (pained expression)

ENDOW (to present)
7 Condition in school assoicated with Indian city (7)

POD (school, especially of whales and seals) + AGRA (Indian city, site of the Taj Mahal)

PODAGRA (gout; condition)
8 Unnerve rogue trader (not half) (3) COWBOY (inadequately qualified or slapdash person providing inferior services or shoddy workmanship; rogue trader) excluding the second three letters BOY [not half] COW (subdue the spirit of; unnerve)
9 Game and ethical figure ultimately, source of leaks in shady area? (7-6)

WHIST ([card] game) + LE (last letters of [ultimately] ETHICAL and FIGURE) + (L [first letter of [source of] LEAKS contained in (in) BOWER [shady area])

WHIST LE B (L) OWER

WHISTLE-BLOWER (one who exposes or gives information, usually to the authorities about (illegal or underhand practices); game and ethical figure ultimately, source of leaks in shady area?) &Lit clue where the whole clue is both definition and wordplay

14 Stick bit of alcohol into drink, a favourite from time to time (3,3,5)

(WAND [stick] + A [first letter of [a bit of] ALCOHOL) contained in (into) NOG (an eggnog or similar drink) + A +IN (in favour; a favourite)

NO (WAND A) G A IN

NOW AND AGAIN (from time to time)
16 Under the authority of patient couple by the sound of it (7,2) SUBJECT (patient) + TO (sounds like [by the sound of it] TWO [couple]) SUBJECT TO (under the authority of)
18 Red mark put on rental property (7) SCAR (mark) + LET (rental property) SCARLET (red)
20 Free time left after plea essentially (7) ALIBI (plea, in a criminal charge) excluding the outside letters (essentially) A and I + ERA (time) + L (left) LIBERAL (free)
22 Pole at home for sculptor (5) ROD (pole) + IN (at home) RODIN (reference Auguste RODIN [1840-1917], French scultptor, possibly best known for The Kiss)
25 Singer’s wife enthralled by honour (3) Hidden word in (enthralled by) HONOUR ONO (reference Yoko ONO, wife of John Lennon [singer, initially with The Beatles, but latterly a solo artist])

34 Responses to “Independent 7922 / Hypnos”

  1. sidey says:

    Ah, thank goodness I have been given a subscription to a rival to the Indy, I can cease bothering with this sort of thing now.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Duncan, for a blog that provided me with a great deal more entertainment than the puzzle.

    I lost the will to live after getting about half of it (including the gateway clue through a wordsearch ‘cos I was never going to get it from the clue) and before even seeing that there were some referees around the grid.

    I just found the theme arcane and some of the clueing unnecessarily complicated, particularly for the themed clues. ASS for soft in ASSANGE? If you haven’t heard it, Duncan, I certainly haven’t either. And ‘Northern town’ in WIGAND? Okay, it’s likely to end in a D, but given the obscurity of the answer, which of the hundreds of five-letter northern towns would you like me to plump for if I haven’t got any crossing letters? Oh, and having less than 50% crossing letters in four of the themed answers was also unhelpful.

    I could go on, but I won’t. Let’s just say it wasn’t my cup of tea.

  3. flashling says:

    Cor not at all easy that! Ass=soft is rather dubious why not just say stupid rather than soft, didn’t know some of the secrets whistle blowers so thanks Duncan.

  4. crypticsue says:

    Well done Duncan. Even ‘cheating’ to get 9d didn’t help me. I got the majority of the non-themed solutions but gave up in the end. Looking stuff up on line to solve a puzzle isn’t for me, I’m afraid.

  5. Meic says:

    I agree with the rest of you. Loathing football I hadn’t a hope of even recognising the fact there were football referees, and though I could construct some of the others (eg WIGAND)I have kow idea who they referred to. Having started by constructing PONTING, and seeming to get BOWLER from the clue to 9D I started by looking for a cricket connection…

  6. dialrib says:

    Thanks for a great blog, Duncan.

    The idea of a whistle-blower theme is great, reminding us of heroes who stand up to powerful forces to do what they think is right. A shame it didn’t feel like a celebration to me. I found it far too tough.

  7. Thomas99 says:

    I know as little as anyone I know about football and not much more about whistle-blowers but I still thought this was a brilliant puzzle. Can’t really fault it at all, although I did assume Wilson was a referee until I came here. Re the early antipathy (Duncan’s “afternote” in red) – I suppose it would have made a decent Saturday puzzle but seeing it today just left me thinking what a wealth of great puzzles the Independent crossword editor must have to choose from!

    Lovely full blog too – thanks.

  8. hounddog says:

    Didn’t finish this.

    Interesting that clues needing knowldedge of present day football is seen as somehow unfair by some but needing to know about music from 300 years ago isn’t.

  9. nmsindy says:

    I agree this was very tough, but I did manage to solve it in the end even though I’d not heard at all of three of the (non-football) whistle-blowers and forgotten a fourth (PONTING). However, eventually, with crossing letters and reasonably straightforward wordplay in those clues I managed to get them, but had to verify on the Net for sure. Was more familiar with the football ones, tho COLLINA was the only one I got until very near the end – the corners of the grid where the other two were seemed a bit tricky but I guess that was forced to some extent by the theme.

    Thanks for another wonderful blog, Duncan, and Hypnos for the puzzle. Now I wonder what does 25D think of being clued as “singer’s wife”…

  10. NealH says:

    I got to the point where I had most of the non-theme clues filled in but even with all the crossing letters couldn’t get most of names. Football referees? I barely take any interest in the overpaid oiks who play the game, never mind the guys who run around blowing the whistle. Suffice to say, I couldn’t name you one football referee, never mind three.

    Funnily enough, I did get Wigand quite early on, which did give me the theme. I remembered it from the film The Insider. However, that was the high point of my attempt to do this puzzle and it was all downhill from there. More like this and I think I’ll be moving over to the Grauniad.

  11. NealH says:

    Hounddog,

    At least you can argue music from 300 years ago has stood the test of time. I’m not sure how many people will remember Wayne Rooney or David Beckham in 300 years time…

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I think hounddog makes an interesting point. I don’t mind contemporary references at all – where would setters be without Lady GAGA, or Tracy EMIN, or one I solved the other day but can’t remember where, LILY Allen (the answer was LILY OF THE VALLEY). I doubt any of them will be remembered in 300 years’ time either. My problem with this puzzle was that I lost enthusiasm for it before I got to the contemporary footie references. Ah well, at least Thomas liked it.

  13. Jim T says:

    Really enjoyed this. Wasn’t familiar with Wigand and Wilson but they weren’t abnormally difficult to work out and it was interesting to learn about them from the blog (thanks, Duncan). I agree with dialrib that many of these people (not sure about the refs) are heroes whose courage and integrity should be remembered.

    Re Neal H at 11, does it matter if Rooney or Beckham are forgotten in 300 years? The crossword is for now, not then.

    Thanks to Hypnos for a very entertaining puzzle.

  14. pennes says:

    Half done including whistle blower, then I realised after getting Ponting, whom I remembered leaking back in the 198os, that this was going to pretty obscure and far beyond the range of general knowledge. Were I to continue trying I’d be on the internet most of the time, which I find unsatisfying. I personally don’t like having to use reference material other than for checking answers and as Duncan says it is not much fun doing this sort of puzzle on the train.
    On this subject I set off on a long train journey the other week and started Bannnsider’s Saturday Dubliners puzzle; not only is it very specialist subject it also didn’t have personal interest for me and as it was a through train I had no opportunity to buy another paper, so I felt a bit peeved without a crossward for a four hour journey.

  15. Chris says:

    This one was way beyond the pale for me. Some very iffy cluing as mentioned above, needlessly obscure words. Knowledge of football referees is ridiculous to ask for even among many football fans, let alone the crossword community. If I have to resort to googling for obscure names, that completely destroys a crossword for me. Sorry.

  16. Dormouse says:

    Well, I got all but the referees and 8d, where, for some reason I thought of cow and rejected it. Never heard of Wigand and Wilson.

  17. Simon Harris says:

    Well, I must admit I didn’t hate this. Obviously very tough on the face of it, but well worked. I’m far from the greatest solver here, and hadn’t heard of many of those involved, but I almost finished this within a couple of pints. A little more persistence (or thirst) might have seen me through.

    So I certainly couldn’t fault the scrupulous clueing, it just required a lot of thought.

  18. Wil Ransome says:

    Just required a lot of thought, did it Simon? What if you’ve never heard of most of the referees and only some of the other type of whistle-blower? More thought than I’m capable of giving. Include me in the group for whom looking things up on the internet isn’t part of the game.

    Afraid I just gave up on this, with several unfinished. As K’s D says, I just lost the will to live.

  19. Cumbrian says:

    Thanks Simon for a tremendously in-depth blog that helped me understand the clues I solved but couldn’t quite see why. Thanks also for your explanation of the rest of the answers which helped restore my shattered confidence by enabling me to realise that this crossword wasn’t designed for people who enjoy finishing crosswords.

  20. Cumbrian says:

    Sorry – that should have read Duncan, not Simon – profound apologies.

  21. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Duncan for a great blog.

    I don’t usually do the Independent, but just tried this one on spec. Very hard indeed! I twigged the whistle blower theme fairly early on, but with only a dictionary for aid most of the themed answeres were simply impossible. I guessed some and not others, but they were no more than that, just guesses.

    It was clearly a very good puzzle, but felt more to me more like a quiz than a crossword.

  22. duncanshiell says:

    Well, this is one of the two puzzles that I have blogged over the past 4 to 5 years that has generated the most strength of feeling. Interestingly, the other one in the top two is an Inquisitor (Independent Magazine) puzzle that I blogged a week ago. Both puzzles generated more anti feelings than pro, although each also had supporters.

    I think a daily puzzle has to be solveable by a fairly high percentage of readers of the newspaper in which it is published without having to turn to the internet or reference books. On that basis, I suspect Independent readers can cope with a more difficult puzzle and a wider range of general knowledge than readers of some other papers, but clearly this WHISTLE-BLOWER puzzle went too far. I’m lucky – I’m retired and can do the research. I feel sure that all of the WHISTLE-BLOWERS will have featured in reports in the Independent over the years, some in the news page and some in the sports pages, but given the wealth of information available to us today, no-one is going to remember all the stories dating back to the 1980s. Sport polarises opinion, and we have seen that in the comments today. Most of the ethical WHISTLE-BLOWERs were American so probably didn’t linger in the memory so strongly as British ones might have done. On the referee side, Graham POLL did make the front pages of all newspapers during the 2006 World Cup for his inability to count to two when working out how many yellow cards equalled a red, but many people will just have seen the word football and ignored the story.

    I had never heard of Joseph WILSON at all, but I did recognise the story when I did the research, but more so the references to his wife and the CIA than to his WHISTLE-BLOWING. For that clue, my first thought was PILSON with PIN=secure rather than WIN=secure. Crosswords with lots of names in are always going to generate comment if people are unaware of the names. I hadn’t noticed that many of the WHISTLE-BLOWERS had more unchecked than checked letters, but obviously the four in the top and bottom rows did. Four letter words are particularly difficult to solve if there are many possibilities available from the two letters available and the subject matter is not one of the solvers’ specialisms. The clue to DOWD seemed easier to me than the clue to POLL. For WIGAND, I felt that the checked letters of W, G and N were useful pointers to the town.

    Eimi, the crossword editor of the Independent newspaper puzzles, has been known to comment on Fifteensquared. I wonder if he would see fit to comment on the opinions expressed here yesterday and today. On the Inquisitor puzzle I referred to, John Henderson, the Inquisitor editor has contributed to the debate.

  23. Quixote says:

    I’m a great fan of Hypnos and publish his puzzles in the Church Times. I guessed some of the whistle-blowers and see that I got them right. However, some of them might have been less ambiguously clued, especially given the slightly-below-par checking. For me this puzzle is just (but only just!) on the side of passable. Hypnos’s clues are (as ever) at worst sound and at best very good, but the thematic implementation was rather tricky.

  24. Bertandjoyce says:

    We tried to leave a comment last night after ‘cheating’ more times than we have ever done in a crossword. It wasn’t our cup of tea at all. Definitely a ‘marmite’ crossword from the comments!
    However, variety is the spice of life and it is often very amusing reading the comments afterwards.

    Thanks Duncan….. And Hypnos!

  25. Bertandjoyce says:

    Meant to add that we were glad we weren’t blogging this one!

  26. eimi says:

    Well, this puzzle generated a lot of comment and still received far fewer comments than another place, so this wasn’t attention-seeking. I have mainly been using Hypnos on a Sunday since granting Quixote’s request for a transfer back to the daily, but thought this far too difficult for that slot. Perhaps it might have been more suited to Saturday, but I get the impression that those who didn’t like it yesterday wouldn’t have liked it much more then. I knew all the whistle-blowers except Wilson and Wigand and thought it was quite a clever theme to link the two types of whistle-blowers, but I bow to the majority verdict that it was too tough. Thomas @7, yes I do have lots of puzzles to choose from, but very few at the easier end of the scale, so it’s often hard to get the right balance for the week.

    I am very uneasy about bloggers or commenters seeking to summon responses from setters and editors. Some don’t even read the blogs here and surely it’s up to them whether they wish to contribute.

  27. PeeDee says:

    Thank you eimi for these intersting and valuable insights into the process of editing the crossword. I appreciate you taking the time to write your thoughts here very much, as I’m sure we all do.

    I’m sure that Duncan’s did not intend his request to be a summons. The request seems very polite and respectful, with no compulsion to reply.

    Thanks again for writing here.

  28. eimi says:

    Quite so. I have no problem with the manner of the request and I greatly admire Duncan’s blogs, but I’m concerned that contributions should be freely given and not expected as of right, which is not a response only to Duncan’s polite request for my comments but other contributions I have seen in parts of fifteensquared.

  29. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Amen to all that. A number of the Indy setters often drop in to their blog, to thank everyone for comments, to defend a clue, or to tidy up any queries. Anax, Tees, Phi, Raich and Quixote often do, and I for one appreciate their contributions. But if others don’t read the blog or don’t want to get involved, there’s no compulsion.

  30. pennes says:

    Looking at the comments here I think that a puzzle that requires in-depth or specialist knowledge, available to most only by research, can upset a lot of people, whereas few will be upset by a non-themed puzzle.

  31. Allan_C says:

    I didn’t get round to this puzzle yesterday so have only just completed it via Crossword Solver. Some of the whistleblowers (of both varieties) were unknown to me but I got there in the end, with some help from being able to check my guesses. I must say I’m not surprised at the volume of comments, and that I too would have thought the puzzle better suited to a Saturday.

  32. M_Oz says:

    Apologies for the late blog. The Independent cryptic is republished in the Adelaide Advertiser 3 weeks after the original publication.

    I managed (without accessing the internet) all except WIGAND, (and ENDOW) and COLLINA. From the theme clue and the obvious ones SERPICO, ASSANGE and DEEP THROAT I presumed that all of the others which were obtainable from the clueing were political/government whistleblowers.

    As an antipodean I presumed that POLL, DOWD were somehow UK-specific but I did wonder about PONTING (Ricky Ponting former Australian test cricket captain). I thought PONTING must have made some contribution to exposing match fixing in international cricket. Thank goodness for the blog!! Even if I had twigged the secondary cryptic meaning of whistleblower (which in retrospect is really clever) I would not have easily got to COLLINA although it is well clued.

    I seldom get the puzzles out completely and failing on only 3 clues is a fair result for me. As a non-UK person I have been obliged to pick up a great deal of UK-centric trivia in order to have a reasonable shot at the Independent (best cryptic published in Australian newspapers in my view) so I am not very sympathetic to the UK-resident detractors who think that UK football trivia should be beyond scope. After all soccer is the major code in the UK, and it is the “world game”.

    “Too tough”? … not from where I stand. I thought it was a good puzzle and an excellent blog by Duncan.

  33. eimi says:

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, M_Oz, and I agree about the national game and the world game – some solvers would obviously prefer clues that reference a sport only played in a few countries.

  34. Graham Pellen says:

    Like M_Oz I live in Adelaide. I have occasionally posted comments but they are always too late to be read or commented upon (apparently). I was born in the UK and although I have lived here for nearly 50 years, most of the English references are within my ken. As for this crossword, I got most of it, but the football references so beloved of some setters and contributors are irritating to me, although I still always check the weekend football results from England (particularly, these days, from my home town, Crawley). Why? Perhaps because of the juvenile and sometimes brainless – and violent – behaviour and moronic chanting of UK soccer fans.

    Like M_Oz I do the three-week old crossword six days a week and always come here to read the blog. Long may it continue.

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