Derek Harrison's Crossword Message Board

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Re(2): Competition clues
IP: 80.43.35.32


Competitions are won by outstanding clues i.e. clues that stand out. These are not necessarily the best in absolute terms. In Ximenes 1135 over a third of the competitors used exactly the same anagram - X’s comment was that it “made my life a little difficult as I definitely thought it the best idea.”

So one tries to find a USP. Topicality helps (especially sporting and especially especially aimed at the judge’s favourite sport) as does the wider range of options conferred by a comp.anag. And although neatness and brevity help there aren’t the same length constraints as there are on the clues in a real puzzle. Neither is solvabiliity such an issue. Competition clues are judged by different standards to those of puzzle editors or us simple solvers.


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