EV1585 (Setter’s Blog) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV1585 (Setter’s Blog)


Proclamation by Chalicea

Setter’s Blog

In George ORWELL’s Animal Farm it was ultimately proclaimed that ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.

When I’m hunting for a theme for a new cryptic crossword, I tend to look at my favourites – engineering work by Brunel say, women’s achievements, poetry, Shakespeare plays, or one of my favourite novels and this one had been on my potential list for years.

To my mind, like The Great Gatsby for the USA, Germinal for France, War and Peace for Russia and If This is a Man for Italy, Orwell’s Animal Farm will survive as possibly the greatest British twentieth century novel or literary work. (Come on – if you are reading this, please respond and contradict me!)

I feel that there isn’t a word out of place in the novel, though, of course, the modern child will have to have some understanding of history to follow the successive stages of the pigs’ rise to dominance and total command and control in the events on the farm. But it is recounted with such humour (yes, bitter humour) that it all reads as a ‘good’ story too and one doesn’t need to look very far in the modern world to see that some animals are definitely ‘more equal’ than others (and willing to send the Stakanovitic ‘others’ to the knacker’s in order to maintain their dominance).

Compiling the crossword was a pleasure with the thematic material fitting into a symmetrical grid with no great struggle. I happily abandon symmetry and I don’t give a hoot for it, and suspect that many solvers don’t either and that some don’t even notice it, but it is sometimes an editorial concern. Editors tend to approach my crosswords knowing that they will be a speedy solve and a fairly easy balance for tough ones that are being scheduled. However, this time, I gave our poor editor a problem as, in my naivety, I had used a word (guess which!) which is considered non-U, and in rather a rush (before we all disappeared to the annual Listener Setters’ Dinner in Bristol) three clues had to be rewritten to change one naughty letter, or seven if the symmetry was to be preserved. We preserved the symmetry. I hope you enjoyed it.


A full review of this puzzle can be seen over on fifteensquared.


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