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Diabolically Arcane

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Havoc Ahead

9 December, 2010

Nervous? A little, since the looming DA crossword is out of the box.

Don’t worry. I’m not dealing in spoilers. But I can say the cryptic due to run this Friday in Sydney, and in Saturday’s Age, is the strangest I’ve made for yonks. Full-stop even. And I’m nervous about it.

The key reason links to the Herald’s page, where the Cryptic and Quick grids – usually a snap in every regard – require different treatment. Patterns and symmetry are identical, but the cryptic clue-numbers within the grid break convention. Even to Age solvers, the figures will seem random. Or worse – wrong. But they’re not, as you’ll discover.

Hence the butterflies, as the intrepid Lynne Cairncross (our part-time crossword editor) will soon need to usher this odd grid past the subbies and typesetting software to ensure the puzzle escapes any well-meaning interference. Let’s hope she succeeds. And the solvers make merry, once they waken to the challenge.

And while chatting on chequered things, for anyone who happened to attend the Gleebooks Clue Clinic a month back, then the puzzle slated to follow on December 17/18 is the grid that holds the session’s six offered words and phrases, including a name (3,7) that regulars here will know too well.

Enough preambling. Enjoy the ambling, when the puzzles lob.

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