And the correct grid is...
If, like me, you awake on Saturday morning with a thrill of excitement, knowing that Fraser Simpon's cryptic crossword awaits you in the Globe & Mail, you will have felt crushing disappointment this morning. In today's puzzle, the clues don't match the grid.
This isn't the first time it's happened, although it's rare. A few years ago, when I discovered that the grid didn't match I reverse engineered the grid based on the clues provided. (That was back in my pre-toddler days when I had more time!) It was so exciting to be able to share the right grid with all of you. I even got a shout out from the public editor at the Globe & Mail, which was a lot of fun. And it brought me in touch with other cryptic crossword fans, including one named Sally who has been compiling Fraser Simpson's grids for years just in case a mismatch happens. She kindly sent me her library.
So, let's all give Sally a big "Thank you!" Because when I saw the mismatch today, I immediately dug out her old email and located the right grid. I'm happy to be able to share it with all of you. Happy puzzling!
Making the Cryptic Political
This past Saturday, I was a little surprised to see the following clue in Fraser Simpson’s Globe and Mail puzzle:
Escort enters sound bargain with the prosecutor (4, 4)
I stared at it and wondered: could it be it anything but a reference to President Trump’s alleged affair with the porn star Stormy Daniels and the $130,000 his lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid her not to disclose it?
On Saturday, April 14, 2018, Fraser Simpson published a simple clue in the Globe and Mail cryptic crossword that made me want to cheer:
Actress McGowan stood up (4)
Why cheer for this? You may ask. It’s just a straightforward double meaning clue. The actress in question is Rose McGowan. And if someone stood up, they rose from their seat.
When BBC Travel posted a list of the world's most bizarre natural phenomena in August of last year, I read it with rapture.
Did you know that there's a blood red waterfall in Antarctica?
Or that in northern Canada there's a lake full of frozen bubbles? (Ironically, the bubbles are highly flammable)
Measure Twice, Cryptic Once
Have you ever renovated?
We spent the entire fall in the throes of a major house reno. It was tons of fun, everything worked out well, and I learned a great deal. The most important lesson was the golden rule of construction: measure twice and cut once.
This is smart advice to take literally but it's also a wise principle to apply more generally. Spend a lot of time planning. Review your work. There will be fewer mistakes and when surprises do crop up, you'll be better prepared to deal with them.
Planning carefully is key to producing a good cryptic crossword puzzle, which is why I was so surprised this past Saturday when there was a mistake in Fraser Simpson's cryptic crossword in the Globe and Mail.
Doing More With Less
I completely freaked out when I discovered that The New Yorker, my favourite magazine, at one time published cryptic crosswords edited by Fraser Simpson, my favourite cryptic crossword setter. An Amazon search had led me to the collection “101 Cryptic Crosswords: From The New Yorker”, published in 2001, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. How had it taken me so long to discover that such concentrated awesomeness exists?
I added the collection to my Christmas wish list (it was December and my mother has spent years drumming it into me that you never buy yourself anything in that month). Then, I counted down the days to the 25th, hoping someone would get it for me.
On Seeing Your Hero's Early Work
A friend of mine recently gave me a book of Fraser Simpson's old cryptic crossword puzzles: a collection he published in 1995. I was thrilled to crack it open. Fraser Simpson's puzzles appear in the Saturday edition of The Globe and Mail and it's a long wait from one weekend to the next.
In case you weren't already aware, I adore Fraser Simpson's work. His puzzles are clever, precise, and succinct. They have defined my own style as a setter. So you can imagine what a shock it was when I made the following discovery:
His early work isn't that good.
I'm a writer, adventurer, amateur setter of cryptic crosswords, lover of "ah-ha!" moments, and exhausted mom.