This is the hint.
Kings, battles, capitals, rivers… all out of fashion in schools, I am told. These puzzles, then, are for the differently-educated. Or are they? The young audience for the cult radio show I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue seems to have no trouble recognizing, and laughing hilariously at, the Biblical and historical puns and allusions in the show, which suggests a gratifying familiarity with at least some basic elements of our common national and cultural heritage. Just as well, since I would be baffled trying to compile a crossword that expected solvers to have a background just in project work and key skills.
The puzzles in this selection, then, contain the usual Times2 mixture of definitions and general knowledge, and all appeared in The Times during the first months of 1998. All except one, that is: no. 58 appears here for the first time, having been accidentally omitted when the Bank Holiday Jumbo of the day displaced it from is regular back page position, and it failed to land elsewhere. (Its solution, however, duly appeared the following Monday.)
All the answers, if needed, are at the back; as usual with these puzzles, you may find a little extra amusement in noticing additional themes or patterns in the completed grids of some of them. Some are fairly obvious; others less so. Enjoy!
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