Derek Harrison's Crossword Message Board

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Re(2): Listener no. 4365: Sympathy and unches

Jason, Sympathy's stock grids are perfectly Ximenean and don't have double unches. If you don't use a stock grid, all that Sympathy will do is warn you when the checking fails to conform to Ximenean standards.
In his book, On the Art of the Crossword, Ximenes says having "two consecutive not allowed," and that proscription is generally applied by editors of barred cryptics, with the very rare allowance in cases such as this with densely packed thematic material of the kind that didn't feature in Ximenes' puzzles.

If you aspire to set puzzles I would regard a double unch as taboo since you risk rejection if the editors don't think the double unch is justified by the thematic material. It's usually possible to avoid double unches even in thematically complex puzzles, though it can take a lot of experimentation. Had I realised that double unches might be accepted in extremis I could have saved myself a lot of effort trying to avoid them in some of my past puzzles. Having said that, I agree with John that they don't look right in a barred puzzle, so I'd be loath to use this puzzle as a precedent.


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