This is the hint.
These puzzles, which appeared in The Times during 1997, are clued with definitions only, but they are not too easy. They should appeal to the typical Times reader, as they assume a reasonably wide vocabulary and an acquaintance with at least the principal peaks of our historical and cultural heritage. Recourse to reference books should not be needed.
Some of the puzzles have a little extra in them, if you care to look for it – it is never essential to solving the puzzle. Some themes are obvious, such as the running quotation in no. 71 (the Christmas Eve puzzle). Some puzzles have a group of related answers, such as nos. 23 and 63; others, something visible in the completed grid, as with no. 37. It may also help to know that puzzle no. 1 appeared originally as Times2 no. 1000, and no. 11 as no. 1066. I will leave you to look for the theme of no. 74 (hint: 1 across), and to spot why no. 20 was scheduled for February 14th.
(Answers: No. 20 – read the letters in the diagonal from top left to bottom right. No. 74 – three bear names among the answers, and the word BEAR hidden three times in the grid).
An introduction by Richard Browne, former Crossword Editor of The Times and creator of
The Times Two crossword
Welcome to another collection of puzzles from the Times Two series in The Times.
There are no cryptic clues in these crosswords, but the puzzles are nonetheless not designed to be too easy, and deliberately use a wide vocabulary and some general knowledge; although nothing intended to be outside the normal experience of an average reader of The Times.
It may be helpful to new readers to explain some of the conventions that I use. I try to match the clue closely to the answer; so for example the clue Artist should have an answer like Painter; if the answer were a particular artist, I would give a clearer indication – for example, Painter of lilies – answer, Monet. A comma in a clue punctuates a single, amplified definition; a semi-colon divides two clues to separate meanings of the one answer. So Loud, undignified complaint – Squawk but Loud (tie); insipid – Tasteless. The clues will always be definitions of the answer, though not necessarily of its most obvious meaning!
The numbers in brackets after the clue also follow a convention, indicating whether an answer is one word, two words or more, or hyphenated; but I ignore apostrophes, as is normal crossword practice. So, Kneecap (7); Knee-length (4-6); O’Neill (6).
In phrases that could include my, his, your, etc. depending on the context, I conventionally use one’s; so for example Take one’s leave (4,4,5) not Take your leave (important to know as both are four letters). But I keep your where this is an invariable part of the phrase, so Bob’s your uncle.
Enjoy the puzzles!
Richard Browne, Times Two Editor