This is the hint.
This new anthology of concise puzzles from the long-running Times2 crossword series in The Times contains no fewer than 100 selected from more than 300 published during 2014.
They are designed to be not too difficult but also not too easy, presenting what I hope is a fair challenge to the average solver. Whilst the fastest solvers of the online versions on The Times Crossword Club website can whistle through one of these in under two minutes (including the time taken to type in the answers!) the average solver is likely to take their time, perhaps making this book the ideal companion to a regular commute or one to be tackled over a daily cuppa. The vocabulary is generally taken from a single-volume dictionary such as Collins English Dictionary. There is a smattering of general knowledge as well, just to add to variety.
Regular solvers will know I invariably play little word games in the grids and that is true of all the puzzles presented here. You may find puzzles where where several entries have something in common, hidden words in the grid, word ladders and many more. Two that were surely spotted by by few solvers were those numbered 62 and 82 here. These were written to mark the 80th birthdays of composers Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies respectively and in both of them all the across answers were taken from the titles of their numerous compositions.
Even if you don’t relish the extra task of spotting the added quirks in the finished grids, I sincerely hope you will enjoy the challenge of the process of solving.
Crossword Editor of The Times Concise crossword
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