A few new things

by David Tossman / 13 December, 2011
Starting early in the New Year this blog will carry solutions to the Listener cryptic crosswords along with clue explanations and some general commentary on matters such as cryptic clue conventions. I will of course respond to (most – if any) comments and suggestions.



From crossword 751 onwards the puzzles will be in 15 x 15 grids, up from the 13 x 13 grids used to date. The 15 x 15 size is used in most cryptic puzzles worldwide.

The smaller grid has proved ever more limiting over the years, since a well-connected grid of that size necessitates a large proportion of three- and four-letter words, and there are simply not that many in the language. The Oxford Crossword Dictionary, for example, lists 3735 four-letter words and 20,874 seven-letter words.

Since I have written more than 20,000 clues for the Listener crosswords over the past 15 or so years, it is hardly surprising that I have been running out of fresh ones and have looked enviously at the larger grids available to other setters.

I look forward to fresh challenges and hope my loyal solvers do likewise.
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