Derek Harrison's Crossword Message Board

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Listener No. 4378: Present Day by Horvendile

This seemed to me like an impossible task at first. It also seemed to me that it would be pointless solving any clues other than those affecting the Playfair table as the others wouldn’t help in the slightest if we couldn’t crack the code. Some of those critical clues I found ‘just happened’ to be the hardest ones to solve in the puzzle. In fact it took me several hours to solve them with GODIVA holding me up longest, though looking at it afterwards I can’t understand why. Once I had those I found it fairly straightforward to crack the code, though I was held up again briefly by forgetting that we should take the same row first in rectangles of a Playfair table and not go clockwise from the first letter – I think it was L and T that drove me nuts. After that it was a long, but enjoyable, exercise solving the rest of the clues and encoding the answers as there were a lot of them.

I know from experience that with such a large grid and so many clues, the clue lengths have to be kept short (most would have had to fit one line in the paper), so with that in mind I thought they were excellent. If this was a debut it was a seriously impressive one. In fact is was a seriously impressive puzzle in any case. Thanks very much.


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