This is the hint.
With this twenty-first book of Quick Crosswords selected from the long-running Times2 crossword series in The Times there comes a slight change in format. In place of the 80 puzzles of earlier volumes here are offered no fewer than 100 puzzles, selected from those originally published in 2011. I hope the greater number of puzzles will lead to proportionately longer enjoyment.
That being said, nothing much else should have changed. My intention remains always to create a puzzle that is quick, straightforward and entertaining while at the same time perhaps introducing solvers to the occasional new word or interesting meaning. My standard reference is a one-volume dictionary such as Collins English Dictionary which I supplement with a smattering of general knowledge answers that I hope are not too challenging.
Solvers who followed this series will know from past introductions that it is my practice to conceal in some of the grids a little extra feature, perhaps something hidden in a row of unchecked letters or a diagonal, or a theme linking several of the answers. I never reveal these, but I know there are solvers who still find virtually all of them. All the puzzles in this volume have something there to be found but the search is only intended for those who fancy such extra challenges. For the vast majority just finishing the puzzle is enough, so please feel free to ignore this conceit of mine. To get anyone new to it started on the way, the first puzzle has a fairly obvious group of four entries while the second might amuse lovers of anagrams.
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