Derek Harrison's Crossword Message Board

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Re(9): Listener No. 4422: Buried Treasure by Poat

This puzzle seems to warrant a more public comment than just my usual note to JEG. Really enjoyable to solve, as others have noted, up until the final requirement. With HARE being the most obvious thing to search for, most of us were looking for ways to highlight those letters in a way that could be justified by the preamble. Three or four days staring at the grid, on and off, failed to produce anything suitable.

I did note that HARE appeared in "the searcH AREa" which encouraged further investigation into a certain section of the grid but once again not in the straight-line/consecutive way specified.

A return to Masquerade and its plot revealed that the ultimate goal searched for by Jack was "the sun" and there it was on the bottom row of the grid, in the form "THE + S", using the Chambers abbrev of course, tucked in amongst the AMPTHILL and KIT WILLIAMS jumbles. And it appears in "THE Search area" as well... nice, I thought...nothing to do with HARE...

Yes I did take a look on those 'other' websites and the suggestion of highlighting part of the preamble but I couldn't imagine the editors would have allowed that as an element of the endgame. As a fledgling setter myself I wouldn't dream of suggesting it, expecting outright rejection. Those puzzles necessitating extraneous activity (cutting, folding etc) have always been signalled to the solver in some way.

I can of course accept failing when it's the setter's ingenuity or sheer difficulty of puzzle (eg Radix's final offering), or my own stupidity, but this seemed to border on the unfair, given the usual rules about what to submit.

It's only one puzzle of many brilliant offerings we've encountered this year, but I felt rather cheated this time.



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