Times archive trial offer

This thread at rec.puzzles.crosswords mentions a site offering free trial access to an archive of the Times up to 1985 (N.B. as far as I can see, the length of trial period is not stated). In theory, you could use this to get about 16,000 vintage Times crosswords. In practice you might just do some nostalgia searches on “crossword championship” or similar. “Akenhead” (Times xwd ed 1965-83) is a handy keyword too.

Just for a laugh I tried the puzzle for my birthdate. I ended up with 6 wrong or missing answers – back in 1960, anag. indicators and definitions were optional, though that didn’t matter too much. This puzzle also had three quotations of which I only guessed one, a baffling literary or similar reference, a place-name variant that I’ve never seen before, a clue that surely uses the wrong tense for the answer, and one other answer I simply can’t fathom. Bear this in mind as we argue the toss about rags, krill and Tobias Smollett.

4 comments on “Times archive trial offer”

  1. Peter, perhaps you now have a better understanding of why old grumps like me bat on about falling standards. We waded our way through that every day with only the solution in next day’s paper, a great pile of reference books and our mates to help us out. At times we spent an hour just trying to make sense of yesterday’s clues, without always succeeding. The adoption of Ximenes rules stopped all that and I wholeheartedly agree that we don’t want to regress back to it. Jimbo.
    1. Jimbo,

      I understand your concerns and I think Richard Browne would admit to being more liberal than his predecessors Mike Laws and Brian Greer. But I don’t think the Times puzzle is sliding back anywhere near the chaos of the early 60s and before.

      Rash promise: I’ll see if I can capture some more of these vintage puzzles and do a full analysis of one someday.

  2. Sorry but didn’t know where to ask – the analysis of Jumbo 745 will be available when?
    As I still have no access to the site (three months now) I am unable to check answers.
    I’d be grateful if the “analyst” would include clues 56 ac, 34 and 37 d in his write-up.
    Thanks in advance,
    Adrian Cobb
    1. Adrian,

      I’ve e-mailed the expected ‘analyst’ to check whether he’s reporting soon. His work duties sometimes mean sudden absences. If he can’t or I hear nothing, I’ll put something up in the next few days, though I suspect my copy went for recycling yesterday morning.


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