Enigmatic Variations 1453
Setter’s Blog by Piccadilly
Overlapping eight-letter words are formed from four-letter words around the perimeter.
[Editor’s note: Piccadilly does not use the internet (or even computers, with his grids drawn by hand and clues typewritten) and he is the EV’s only current compiler to correspond by post. I usually print off the Fifteensquared blog and comments to send to him for feedback on his puzzles. I will do the same with any comments left on this post]
With help from my parents I started solving easy cryptic crosswords in my teens. Several years later I was able to attempt (with limited) success Mephisto, Azed and Listener puzzles. Eventually I tried my hand at setting and after nine rejections, PRIMES was accepted for publication in the Listener. Other puzzles for the Listener and the Independent magazine followed.
I briefly met J. W. Leonard, the originator of the EV series, at a Listener setters’ dinner and my first EV puzzle was CHAINS, EV135 in 1995.
Having had the initial idea for FOUR-LETTER WORDS, the first step obviously was to make the peripheral chain of words, I started with THUNDERSTORM, OPERATIONAL and CASTLE HOWARD and eventually filled the rest of the grid. Then I checked that (assuming all clues had been solved) the majority of answers could be filled in and the ambiguities resolved. Finally the clues, which I hope were neither blindingly obvious nor too obscure.
A full review of this puzzle can be seen over on fifteensquared.