Paul Revisited – Guardian crossword 25846, Jan 16, 2013

‘12 looks like a b**** up, but who cares. Very amusing.’

So said ‘aztobesed’ on the Guardian website, on my Snickersnee becoming Snickersee, according to this careless setter.

My b**** up. My b**** up entirely. I do apologise to all those who were head-scratching. Some were gentle on me, while others stuck in the knife.

Mistakes, errors – let’s call them boobs, always draw outraged shrieks of ‘not fair’, and rightly so. There is an unwritten agreement between solver and setter that everything shall be explainable; that it is ok to play a trick on you if the trick can be unravelled fairly afterwards. Magic is different. We are quite happy to be left bamboozled and sent home wondering how our seemingly smashed watch ended up being found intact on our wrist. With crossword clues, we want to know whose watch it was that got smashed, or how we were distracted in order to have the watch placed back on our wrist.

Regarding the rest of the puzzle, I do like to note down a couple of ideas first before filling in a grid, then find a grid that fits those ideas (The Guardian has around sixty standardised grids). In this case, they were ‘technicolour yawn’ and ‘Aztec two-step’., both for the potential fun rather than because I’d semi-written a clue, and ‘Denver boot’ for the fun, and because setters try to pick words that give us a hope of structurally finding a clue. DEN + VERB + TOO backwards, seemed a structure on which I could work.

Re expectant mother, well, I wrote this when my wife was expecting, though since have become a father. His name’s Aram Paul. Look out for ‘ARAM’ hidden in words in future puzzles!

All the best,


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