This is the hint.
This new collection of eighty Times2 crosswords is selected from those published in The Times during 2005. With an average of about twenty-five per puzzle, that gives you close to two thousand clues to while away the hours. Precisely how many hours’ time will depend on the individual solver, but the puzzles are not intended to try to catch you out with overly-obscure answers.
General knowledge is perhaps the aspect of the puzzle that generates the most correspondence from solvers. In the past year this even spilled over into the Feedback page of The Times, with opinions being given as to whether or not the word ‘gamelan’ was too obscure. As it had appeared in the puzzle, I must have felt it wasn’t too difficult for an occasional appearance, but the person raising it clearly disagreed enough to write in. The exchange finished with one writer reporting that his teenage son was playing in a gamelan orchestra at school, and it wasn’t a hard word at all, neatly exemplifying the range of familiarity I try to keep in mind when creating the puzzles.
As with the previous two volumes of puzzles, I have chosen the puzzles from those designed with a bonus extra to be found in the completed grid. This puzzle feature was something started by the previous Times2 Editor, Richard Browne, and I’ve continued it simply because it seems a fun thing to do. To give you an idea of the sort of thing I mean, after you’ve solved the first three puzzles you might like to look at the first letters in the across entries for Puzzle 1, find a hidden phrase in Puzzle 2 written around the grid in otherwise unchecked squares or think of a single word that can be linked to six of the entries in Puzzle 3. There’s no compulsion to do this, of course, if what you want to do, is simply solve the puzzles.
In either case, I do very much hope you enjoy this latest volume.
Times2 Crossword Editor
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