Enigmatic Variations 1512
Special Offer by Brock
The idea for this puzzle came out of communications with a friend (Richard Heald) who was working on puzzles for the charity Alan Turing’s Cryptic Codebreaking Puzzle Book https://www.amazon.co.uk/Alan-Turing-Cryptic-Codebreaking-Puzzle/dp/1839404914. This included some referred to as “Doublethink” where the answer is made up of two components using the same definition, or in Richard’s words, “each clue on the left has two different answers which, when added together, form the answer to the clue on the right.” The example given was “US president; Hollywood actor (8,4).” I thought of many original examples, but most of these were more suited to solvers of barred cryptic puzzles than to the book’s broader target readership.
This was happening at a time when EV was short of puzzles and simpler ideas looked likely to be of particular interest, so I decided to produce a crossword using some of the ideas I had come up with. I was able to produce a good grid which included at least 10 of these, and as I had found many more examples where it almost worked, I played around with the grid to add some of those. I discovered that similar ideas had been employed in puzzles before (e.g. EV 924 Repeated by Lato), but I decided that with half the clues thematic and the rest providing a message it would be sufficiently different. TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE occurred to me, soon followed by the thought that a SPECIAL OFFER might have OTHER TERMS APPLY, suggesting using final letters from the other clues to spell out the message. The puzzle theme was complete.
After writing the clues, I noticed with horror that somewhere along the line the grid had morphed so that there were 3 unches in a couple of 7-letter entries! Fortunately there was a way to add two more 3 letter entries. That did mean coming up with two more thematic clues, for which I am grateful to the editor for excellent pointers. As always, I am grateful too for my test solvers pointing out clues that did not work so well in an earlier draft.
A full review of this puzzle can be seen over on fifteensquared.