This is the hint.
Volume Eighteen of this series of Times2 Crosswords brings another eighty puzzles culled from past history of this long running series in The Times newspaper. These puzzles are all drawn from 2008 and have been selected to present a varied cross-section of the fare on offer throughout that year. They appear here for the first time since their original publication.
With the Times2, I have always aimed to present a puzzle that maintains pretty much the same level of difficulty from day to day. Obviously, depending on the level of general knowledge and vocabulary of different solvers, there will no doubt be the occasional word being met for the first time, but I certainly don’t aim to stymie solvers to the point of exasperation. I think the ideal puzzle is one where you are never quite sure that you will complete it but where you also know from past experience that you’re in with a good chance. I rather doubt the attractiveness of a puzzle you know absolutely that you can finish. There should always be that element of challenge, though; if you find yourself really stuck, the solution grids are given at the back, as usual.
I have once more selected the puzzles here from among those in which I added a hidden extra during the process of grid creation. So, if you’re the sort of person who likes little extra puzzles (and having this book open in front of you rather suggests you are), you might like to keep an eye open for these as you complete each grid. For instance, you’ll find a couple of puzzles here in which the first letters of the across entries spell something, one where the second letters do, some not-by-chance arrangements of a particular letter, breeds of terrier, a word ladder and a group of words associated with green. There is something of this nature waiting to be found in every one that follows.
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