EV1604 – Setter’s Blog – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV1604 – Setter’s Blog


Protest by Cranberry

Setter’s Blog

BISHOP BRENNAN orders a protest in a Father Ted episode THE PASSION OF SAINT TIBULUS, DOUGAL MCGUIRE AND TED CRILLY (from generated letters) hold signs with the highlighted slogans.

I’m a big fan of Father Ted; “The Passion of Saint Tibulus” was a memorable early episode – and with a legacy that may well be familiar even to those who aren’t aware of the show: few protests now pass without some wags carrying the “DOWN WITH THIS SORT OF THING” and “CAREFUL NOW” signs. So I hope the puzzle was enjoyable for fans of the show but also accessible for those not particularly acquainted with the goings on at Craggy Island.

The use of two different methods to generate letters for the ‘hidden message’ does make things rather trickier for the solver. The intention here wasn’t simply to up the difficulty, but to introduce a little more variety and, hopefully, interest – given a large number of clues, it seemed more fun to not be doing the same thing with each one. Although there is no particular pattern to the use of misprints in definitions or extra letters in wordplay, there is an overall balance with 24 clues having misprints (13 Across, 11 Down) and 25 generating extra letters (13 Across, 12 Down), and no more than 3 of the same type consecutively.

I should probably address the elephant in the room, as pointed out by one solver online: “The timing of this is either very ironic or an unbelievable coincidence given the writer is currently both protesting and being protested against.” I think Graham Linehan’s views on trans issues are entirely wrong – his extreme and obsessive expression of such views (going well beyond the defence of ‘free speech’) perhaps suggests a deeper issue; I hope he is able to find some peace, via dialogue rather than demonisation. This was certainly a consideration when setting out on writing the puzzle many months ago, but I don’t think the later controversy concerning one of its creators should detract from the genius of the show overall, nor diminish its legacy. Father Ted remains (imho) one of the best sitcoms ever to grace our screens, and the fabulous work of Arthur Matthews, Dermot Morgan, Ardal O’Hanlan, Frank Kelly, Pauline McLynn, Jim Norton et al deserves to be celebrated.

Many thanks to the editor and his team, to The Numpties and all at Big Dave’s (where I first started out in Rookie Corner), and of course to all solvers – all feedback is always welcome, and I do hope you enjoyed the struggle!



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