This is the hint.
Here is another collection of puzzles from the daily series in The Times. Since its inception ten years ago, this puzzle as built up a loyal following among readers as an alternative to “The” Times crossword, being in no way devious but still a challenge to readers’ vocabulary and cultural and general knowledge. Having compiled all these puzzles single-handed since the start, over two thousand of them now, I am now handing over the delight of their compilation to John Grimshaw, who has long been associated with The Times both as (still) compiler of the cryptic crossword and (formerly) as editor of the Listener crossword. John aims to maintain the style that the crossword has established, although he will be able to bring a knowledge of contemporary culture, including that of the more popular variety, which I never trusted myself to venture on.
The puzzles in this collection all appeared in The Times during the first few months of 2000; the first of them on New Year’s Day itself, as will be evident when you have filled it in. I continued in these puzzles to add little themes into the grids, which have become perhaps more obvious to solvers now that the solutions are published in the paper in grid form (as they appear here). I had been using the puzzle numbers as themes, including events appropriate to the years they suggested; since the puzzles collected here range from 1915 to 2063, this idea has now run its course, since whatever else the Times crossword editor may be he is no Nostradamus. Among the years commemorated here are 1963, 1966, 1984, and the memorable year 1997, when my team won the FA Cup for the first time since all too long ago. The puzzles are printed in the order in which they originally appeared, although the sequence is of course not complete. The themes are only an extra; all the puzzles are entirely complete and solvable without worrying about them.
The puzzles appear exactly as originally published, except that some clues have been decompressed to take advantage of the more luxurious space offered by book format.
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