Derek Harrison's Crossword Message Board

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Listener 4358: The Other Letter by Wan

Wan has very quickly become one of the setters whose next puzzle I await with eager anticipation. I was not let down; this latest offering gave me a real buzz.

First and foremost, the clues. The puzzles I enjoy most are ones where I almost forget the thematic elements and become engrossed in a good old-fashioned tussle between setter and solver. Wan's clues here were a fantastic challenge; tough, entertaining, yet scrupulously fair. I found myself scratching my head at regular intervals until an "aah" greeted the unravelling of another piece of wordplay or definition. Time after time I was amazed to find a meticulously faithful Chambers definition expertly woven into the clue.

Good deployment of a very simple theme too. The words formed from the clues were well-chosen to disguise things for a good while and it was remembering "drumbledor" as an alternative for dumbledore that did it for me.

As is often the case in this type of puzzle I messed up the tallying of the extra letters and I ended up looking for a representation of G in the grid. Took a while to realise I needed to re-check my work and even then the BEE was well hidden with some carefully chosen birds and a good few red herrings in the grid - or should that be red shanks?

Certainly the puzzle I have most enjoyed solving this year - after all, who doesn't like a bit of the other?

Bravo Wan - excellent stuff!


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