This is the hint.
This book contains fifty general knowledge crosswords, originally published in 2017 and 2018. The three setters of these puzzles are Tom Johnson, Dean Mayer and me. As the puzzles are published anonymously and are changed by me more than our other crosswords, they remain anonymous here, and we don’t use the ABCABC sequence that you can detect from named setters for our cryptic crosswords. There is one other person involved — our Puzzles Editor David Parfitt, who test-solves and edits the ones I set.
Apart from a couple of difficult puzzles omitted, they appear in their original order. You will notice some thematic puzzles, though the thematic content in the one that was published on my wife’s birthday may be hard to identify. Elsewhere you will see one marking a reunion of a musical ensemble I played in at school, one using quotations from a quotable book, and one celebrating a radio comedy series. There is another, for which I’ll just tell you that the original puzzle number is shown under the grid, as well as the publication date, which is shown for all puzzles, to assist you with any date-dependent clues.
Although the style of these puzzles continues to evolve, I have resisted the temptation to amend these ones except to clear up a few mistakes discovered after their original appearance, tidy up house style points, clarify a few clues, and remove some repetition of similar clues for the same answer, which may be more noticeable in a book than a weekly newspaper.
The puzzles are challenging, and I don’t think I would count some use of reference books or the internet as “cheating”. Alternatively, you may wish to treat them as a crossword version of a quiz night, and solve with relatives and/or friends as a team.
I would like to thank my Times Crossword Championship marking room colleague Roger Phillips for proofreading the puzzles, but as the editor, responsibility for any mistakes is mine.