Magpie – 60½ for 0

The December Magpie, the first electronic version is available and free. It contains six barred grid puzzles by the Magpie editorial team, who include our own occasional blogger Mr Magoo. Difficulty is supposed to range from slightly harder than a daily paper cryptic up to very difficult Listener.

Get your copy here.

5 comments on “Magpie – 60½ for 0”

  1. I suspect Magpie’s server is overloaded from too much traffic because I can’t get the page to load. It’s possible that the harder Magpie puzzles would be completely impenetrable to this American—last spring in London, I bought a book of Times cryptics (#11). I’ve been working on it off and on for a good three months, and I’m not quite half done with the puzzles. I bought a copy for a friend (like me, a top solver of American crosswords) who spent a couple years in the U.K. and a few more in Australia, and while he figures out most of the clues faster than I do, neither of us comes anywhere near approaching the solving speed of the people in this LJ community. Some puzzles take a ridiculous number of sittings, hours of cumulative gazing at clues, and occasionally plugging the given letters into or Googling something that makes sense cryptically but is an idiomatic phrase or geographic name utterly unknown to the typical well-educated American.

    It’s fun to work out the brain muscles in a different manner, though, even if I need to ice down those overtaxed muscles after a workout.

    1. Most of the quick times here are the result of years if not decades of practice, as well as local knowledge. I’ve had quite challenging goes at NYT puzzles, without the problem of getting used to cryptic clues. Of your rivals, Jon Delfin has a long-standing liking for cryptics and Tyler Hinman told me a while ago that he does some. (And Trip Payne writes some quite tough ones.)

      I expect that as I tackle Magpie puzzles with my first sub next year, I’ll be clocking up quite a few sittings for some of them, and only getting to the end of about half – my advanced cryptic solving skills aren’t as good as they might be.

      (The link worked for me just now FWIW).

      1. Tyler shied away from my Times book when we met for lunch recently—says he never did master British cryptics. Most American cryptics are worlds easier than British ones for American solvers.
    2. The server went offline for just over an hour last night, coming back online at about midnight (UK time). Many apologies for the inconvenience. Completely my responsibility. Please give it another go some time.

      Chris Lear (Magpie web site guy)

  2. Downloaded and got my first look at Magpie, and first look suggests seriously brain damaging stuff.
    Understanding the instructions for the puzzles seems to be quite a challenge,
    Will peruse further and see how I get on, however,

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