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Diabolically Arcane

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53 n.o.

28 March, 2011

Oh, the bullets I’ve dodged so far. The murky meanings and opaque wordplays. Not to mention a glut of Pommy references (from CHAV to CHELMSFORD), and the occasional pre-Raphaelite. But the Times challenge is on again, with my bid to solve a century-plus of Times crosswords, six days a week in The Australian.

Ground rules are simple: no outside help; no reference books; no Google; no web full-stop. And you must crack the puzzle 24 hours from the moment you pick up the page.

Currently I’m on 53, with today’s puzzle – Monday, March 28, aka Times Cryptic 8963 – still to be mauled. Hop on board if you like, see how you fare in the next 50, though we can’t help each other on the day. Or you guys can help each other, using these new Times-tagged posts – though I’m planning to visit only in reflective triumph, (At least that’s the plan, he bragged foolhardily.)

To measure if you have the Right Stuff, see how’d you fare with these six curly clues I tamed in the last few weeks, all of them near death experiences:

  1. Blind using pole with spike = S _ E _ R

  2. Workers start to relax in nursing home: it’s another world = S _ T _ R _

  3. An alliance with the French in France = _ N _ T _ L _

  4. Not needing soldiers, discharge military unit = _ E _ T _ O _

  5. A substance is less pleasant to older folks, perhaps = A _ I _ T

  6. Source of report being written about Australian native = _ A _ O _ N

Share your theories & solutions in the Comments. And feel free to use this same post as workshop for this week’s lot of Times puzzles.

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