This is the hint.
Let me commend to you this further selection of eighty puzzles from the times2 crossword, the daily series that has now been entertaining readers of The Times for more than twenty years. In that time, the puzzle has built up a large audience who appreciate its balance of simplicity and challenge.
The puzzles in this volume are selected from those published in 2009 and have been selected as a representative cross-section of the year’s puzzles with “hidden extras”, which are there for those who want to look for them without compromising the pleasure to be had from simply solving the puzzle by entering all the answers correctly.
As usual, I have selected these puzzles from those with something more to reveal upon closer inspection. At the simplest end, a solver might gradually realise that all of the puzzles’ answers contain the same letter, a grid completely fails to contain the common letter E, the perimeter contains a long phrase or several of the answers seem to be thematically linked – are those six words all species of owl, perhaps? My only aim in doing this is to seek to add further to solvers’ enjoyment of the task in hand.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary remains my reference choice for its selection of words that is not outrageous or abstruse. Add to that a small amount of general knowledge that I hope is in most people’s recall and the result ought to be something that passes the time entertainingly. Happily, many solvers tell me this is the case, so I feel confident that you may buy this book safe in the knowledge that it is likely to afford some hours of absorbing fun, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else.
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