This is the hint.
With this new collection of eighty Times2 crosswords, the thirteen-by-thirteen-sized puzzle reaches its thirteenth volume. Lest triskaidekaphobes everywhere shudder at the thought, I can assure them that there is nothing about this collection that should invoke any irrational fears, as the mixture of difficulty and vocabulary remains very much as established over the more than three thousand puzzles which have been featured in The Times before these appeared – between June 2004 and January 2005.
As before, the clues are all straight definitions of the answer. Occasionally, either to resolve a potential ambiguity of spelling or because I felt the word may be less familiar to some, I will offer a little help, such as an anagram. I have also taken the opportunity of elaborating on a few clues in cases where I felt the constraints of space in the newspaper had perhaps led me to offer less help than I wished.
I have continued the Times2 tradition of sometimes hiding small ‘extras’ in the grids that interested solvers might spot after completing the crossword. It could be a link between two or more answers, something hidden on a diagonal or in a row or column of unchecked letters or anything else that may occur to me as I am staring at a blank grid wondering where to start. As a taster of the sort of thing to be found in all the puzzles in this selection, the first solution features two crossing entries forming a two-word phrase that may go some way to appeasing the gods if you are still worried about those thirteens.
I don’t reveal the hidden features of the puzzles and there are no prizes for spotting them, but I know from feedback that some solvers enjoy looking for them after completing the grid, so I see no reason not to continue the practice, especially as it also provides me with some fun during the process of creation.
As always, good solving!
Times2 Crossword Editor of The Times
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