This is the hint.
This is a collection of puzzles selected from those that I compiled for The Times during the first few months of 2002. Those solvers who have been following this series of crosswords which has now been going for over ten years will find here the same mixture as before, with demands upon your vocabulary and your general and cultural knowledge, though demands I hope that are not excessive. One of the advantages of the comparatively small grid with its plentiful blacked-out squares is that it is not difficult to find a good and varied supply of cross-checking words to put into it, so there is no need for the compiler to resort to weird and unusual words in order to fill it; always a temptation in a tight corner, especially when there is all kind of computer assistance available nowadays to offer one a range of extraordinary possibilities culled from goodness knows what dictionaries and reference books. However, in order to be fair to the solver, I make it a rule never to include in any of these crosswords any words that I do not know myself. Feedback from readers contains almost equal numbers of letters accusing me of being diabolically abstruse and of being childishly easy, which suggests that, like baby bear’s porridge, there may be the chance that you’ll find these puzzles “just right”.
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