Times 23,872 – Poll


New DIY COW / Clues in Blue contests will go online very shortly; the brief hiatus was just me using the Easter break to have a few days away with only occasional access to the computer.
PS: Slightly O/T but I just wanted to mention it. I’m blessed with a truly beautiful daughter Xana (guess where my pseudonym comes from!) and yesterday she asked me when my next puzzle is in The Times – she’s 9 this year but already a proficient sudokulist and wants to know how to make crosswords(!).
When I told her, she threw her arms around my neck; “Daddy’s going to be famous again!” she said. Kids! They get you like that.

16 comments on “Times 23,872 – Poll”

    1. Exactly. First, there’s no fame at all, but of course Xana doesn’t see it like that. Second, every time a crossword appears she sees it as “daddy being famous again”. A child’s simplistic outlook can add a newness to pretty mundane things.
      1. Oh what a let down! I thought at the very least you were an ex-member of the Rolling Stones!!
  1. Treasure her Anax. All too soon your tenure as trustee of her development will come to an end but the memories will last for ever. Jimbo.
  2. Slightly odd! Checking emails earlier, I’m sure there was notification of someone asking about how far in advance a compiler is advised of publication of a puzzle – all other evidence of this message has promptly disappeared!
    For the record, in my case it varies, but I usually get at least a month’s prior notice; mostly nearer two months. But bear in mind I’m not a frequent setter and the editor has to squeeze me in – I’d guess the regular setters have predictable slots and may need no notification, effectively working to a timetable; but I must emphasise that’s a guess.
    1. That would have been me. I slipped half-way through composing the message, and deleted it immediately. Haven
      1. Oops… did it again.

        I was going to say: I haven’t had a chance since to re-write my message.

        Interesting thing about my slip, though: I use a Dvorak-mapped keyboard and ‘ is right next to the tab key. So if I slip it ends up moving to the next field and posting a comment before I’m done! Oh well 🙂

    2. “working to a timetable”: My understanding is that the xwd ed moves puzzles around to avoid things like having the same answer or same grid two days in a row. So my guess is that although setters may be given a frequency like once a fortnight, they all need notification to know when their puzzles will be printed.
  3. By the way, I checked Xana on Wiki. Can I assume the reference to Asturian mythology prompted the name choice?

    For the record, my youngest is Maia. And that was at least partially in reference to the eldest of the Pleiades.


    1. Erm… not quite. I know this is crass, but Xana was an amalgam of initial letters used by my other half and I for our AOL screennames!
      As for Anax, to my not inconsiderable embarrassment I recently discovered it’s an ancient Greek word meaning “king” – I assure you I had no idea of this when I chose it as my setting pseudonym.
      1. Oh. Well, it’s a nice coincidence then…

        As for Steven: my parents gave that to me, so I have no need to be embarrased with its meaning “crowned one”.

  4. Sorry to demote you, but Greek ‘anax’ was closer to our ‘lord’ than ‘king’. There was a separate word for ‘king’, from which the English name Basil (also the herb), basilica and basilisk are derived. I think Fawlty Towers may have killed off Basil (and Sybil) as names!
  5. Peter is correct: the Times ed does indeed do a juggling manoeuvere to keep in particular long phrases from appearing too closely together.
    It’s surprising how often a phrase or answer that I’ve just used crops up in a puzzle I’m solving!
    I get up to two months notice of personal puzzle schedules, but I’ve not yet got round to passing the info on to my own version of Xana yet: he’d probably raise his eyebrows and go “SHRREUUGGBBLLLL” or something similar and dribble milk down his chin 🙂

    Richard R.

    1. My granddaughter, 5, who lives in California, has a way with words and her reading ability is quite ahead of the pre-KG level (as observed by her teacher).

      It seems her brother, 3, told his mother recently that “man” is in “woman”.

      Could they blossom into crossword solvers, I wonder.

  6. Anax,

    What’s the number (or date) of the puzzle you had published in The Times last November?

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