This is the hint.
These puzzles are taken from those that appeared in The Times between July 2002 and February 2003. They continue the established Times Two style, innocent of any cryptic element, but nonetheless requiring a reasonably wide level of vocabulary and general knowledge from the solver. As they reflect the outpourings from my own brain, they tend to contain traditional knowledge in the way of culture, history, geography, English literature, and so on; to be rather light on popular culture; and to be almost entirely free of references to TV programmes and popular music.
All these puzzles are reproduced here as they appeared originally, with one exception: I noticed at a late stage, to my horror, that the puzzle due to appear on the first anniversary of the terrorist outrage of 9/11 contained the phrase TAKE THE PLUNGE – plunging down the centre of the grid. Fortunately it was possible quickly to change this to TAKE THE PLEDGE (not all 13-letter answers are so easily adjusted!), and embarrassment avoided; but it seems reasonable now to reinstate my original version.
There are among these puzzles, as always, a number of modest themes, some obvious (as in puzzle 65), some less so: some relevant to the date of publication, others there merely because they provided a helpful start in filling a grid. You will be able to deduce roughly when puzzle 10 appeared, for example; and you may see that puzzle 62 belonged to November 5th. Puzzle 28 is for fellow-lovers of Delius; puzzle 78, from Christmas Eve,, hides a seasonal message, and puzzle 79 was designed for Boxing Day. And there are various others you may be amused to spot. Last, in two senses, is puzzle 80; this was the 2,902nd and final one that I compiled before handing the series over to John Grimshaw, so I signed off with a cheery valediction.
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