Enigmatic Variations 1525
Needles by Chalicea
BAZALGETTE overcame THE GREAT STINK and CHOLERA caused by sewage flowing into the River THAMES by creating a system of (BRICK) SEWERS.
Here we are in the heart of a pandemic. I was intrigued when I learned about another blight, the great stink, that hit London over 150 years ago, when 25,000 Londoners died of cholera in two epidemics.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel has been the subject of a number of my thematic cryptic crosswords and I learned that he was a champion of Joseph Bazalgette, the gifted civil engineer who designed the system of sewers that survives to this day. It is difficult to imagine a nastier death than that of the 600 to 700 who were drowned in the Thames sewage in the Princess Alice disaster. Londoners owe a great deal to Bazalgette.
Once I had the idea of setting a Bazalgette-themed crossword, the grid filled logically with the Thames running across the centre and solvers required to see his name (in the diagonal that I so often use) and add sewers linking with his name and hopefully flowing towards the river.
Ifor kindly test-solved the crossword that had the rather pedestrian title ‘Waste’ and he produced the far more imaginative ‘Needles’.
I hope the gloom and gravity of the subject did not detract from solver enjoyment.
A full review of this puzzle can be seen over on fifteensquared.