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12th June 2022, 18:26
Fair enough drxx.

I was wondering about the jigsaw element too as it certainly made it extremely tough. I think if clues had been in clue order and answer lengths given, it might have moved too far the other way on the difficulty scale although a compromise might have been clues in clue order and enumerations of entry length.

Either way I applaud constructors trying something a bit different.

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12th June 2022, 22:11
The Listener Notes for Setters say that “Puzzles for which more than half the clues must be solved before entries can be made in the grid are more likely to be rejected since they fail to deliver a principal feature of a crossword”.

Were many solvers able to start filling the grid with fewer than 25 clues solved? Unlikely, I’d have thought, as it depended heavily on the central nine-cell entry, which was far from straightforward.

The main downer for me was that I saw where the puzzle was heading as soon as I read the message from the doubled letters. So there was no real PDM. After that, it was an inevitability and something of a chore.

Perhaps I was underwhelmed because Twin had set the bar high with Tip-Top Condition, his 2020 Ascot Gold Cup winner, where the puzzle number 4630 was encoded in binary to 1001000010110 to resolve all ambiguities. This felt pedestrian by comparison. But I do, of course, applaud the originality, and appreciated the inbuilt self-checking
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jack aubrey

13th June 2022, 00:29
I’ve used my climbing days as metaphors before. “Exciting, exposed positions with dynamic moves and expanding views” and “Fearful slogs up damp, shadowy chimneys with hand-jams stripping off skin.”

Sorry, but it’s had it’s chance and, for me, this is now very much in the second category. To continue the metaphor, I’m now abbing off. No doubt when I see the solution I may realise that I missed a treat. Tant pis.
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13th June 2022, 00:42
Hi Jack,

It's funny because I'm going in the opposite direction. After a lot of tortuous cold solving with nothing in grid to show for it, I came within a hair's-breadth of sending up the white flag. But, as I said earlier, I came back for one final push and decided to try putting each 9 letter answer, in turn, in the middle row to see which one allowed me to build around it and ..... I got lucky on my second attempt - Hurrah!

That said, I've still got a long climb ahead, but at least the summit is within reach😉
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jack aubrey

13th June 2022, 01:10
Good luck, Brendan. I may well be wrong. I was lucky enough to climb with for a bit with Allen Fyffe who was memorably asked what he thought of the limestone climbing in Dorset. “Shite’”, he said. When asked if he had actually climbed on limestone he said: “Twice. The Eiger and Everest. Both shite.”
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13th June 2022, 03:21
Jack Aubrey

Your rock climbing metaphors have prompted me to recall an expedition to Gimmer Crag to do "Kipling Groove", so called because it is ruddy hard:- somewhat like this crossword, which may turn out to be the Ardus puzzle I've ever done!
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13th June 2022, 08:58
"Each to his own" might be an apposite saying here. Many a time you guys have raved about a puzzle which has gone completely over my head and I have been left licking my wounds of stupidity, and other times it's been a case of "how can you not see that!"

We solve at our own pace and take our own routes: it's interesting that quisling says a lot depended on the central light here - in my case it was one of the last I solved.

Also, his being able to see so far ahead so early reminds me of when a friend of mine saw "The Mousetrap" in London and complained that she'd worked out whodunnit after the first 10 minutes!
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13th June 2022, 09:11
The central entry was one of my last ones too.
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13th June 2022, 10:43
Well, after a day and a half of graft and guesswork I finally staggered over the line. I resisted the temptation to look on the thread so I'm pleased about that, although the final denouement did leave me a bit cold. Reminded me of the 'Spice Girls' puzzle of last year (or the year before, lost track of time).
I can't but admire the construction though, no ambiguities thankfully....haven't checked but wonder if some of the gripes about the clueing might be because of the setter's own restrictions in the letter placing in the clues? Probably not as clues can be adapted but still, a very clever puzzle, thanks Twin.
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13th June 2022, 11:05
All finished but could someone explain the wordplay for the "Put Cube Numbers etc." clue.
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