Derek Harrison's Crossword Message Board

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Listener No 4350 - Revelation of John by Elfman

I'm sorry to say this, but this puzzle was awful, due to the grossly unfair nature of the endgame.

It was a comparatively easy fill, and I then sat and stared at the grid for literally hours trying to work out what to highlight.

There was no hint to the theme beyond it being something to do with "John", which, let's be honest, doesn't really narrow things down that much. I eventually got there by guessing that the ELTON that was found contiguously on a diagonal in the grid was a hint, and that combined with LAUNCHPAD, the title might be Rocket Man; I was only able to find the words to highlight by guessing at a countdown and counting the number of letters in it.

I'm still not sure if ELTON was a deliberate clue or a happy coincidence - there was no mention of it in the preamble or the solution notes. I am utterly at a loss to understand how the setter and the editors can have thought the endgame of this puzzle to be fair, as you effectively had to deduce that you were looking for the letters of a countdown, in a non-contiguous fashion, from the word "John".

Yes, people managed to solve this, but I'm betting there weren't many, and I suspect a large proportion of the entry sought online help. I for one couldn't blame them.

Dreadful puzzle - no more like this, please. Ever.


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