Chambers 12th Edition

Woo hoo! My Chambers Dictionary iPhone app is updating free to the new 12th edition! I wasn’t expecting that — if you buy a print dictionary, you don’t get a free update to a new edition, so I was just figuring they’d bring out a separate app for the new edition.

As I cannot even remotely afford to buy the new edition at the moment, and as I don’t seem destined ever to have any of my entries drawn in the weekly competition for the Listener crossword, this is very welcome. Thank you, Chambers people!

“O Gather Twelve”

I don’t have much time today for working on the Listener puzzle, as I’ve got to finish laying out the libretto for Manga Flute so I have printed copies for sale on Sunday, and then there’s the final dress rehearsal tonight. But I took the puzzle (“O Gather Twelve”) with me on a break from work, and in five minutes had solved one clue and figured out from its answer what the theme of the puzzle is. So it doesn’t look like it’ll be a tough one this week.

That’s good for me, as I may not have much time for it till after the show Sunday, and I try to get my entry in Monday’s mail if I can so it has a decent chance of reaching England by the deadline.

Sunday morning: I started on the puzzle again last night, after I picked up the printed librettos for The Manga Flute, and I’d finished all but 29 Down by bedtime; this morning I saw what I was overlooking and finished it. Now to get ready for the show.

Not So “Confused” After All

Despite my starting late in the day and some of the most impossible looking instructions I’ve ever seen, this week’s Listener crossword, “Confused” by Tea Leaves, turned out to be easier than it looks. After seven or eight clues solved, I started figuring out what was going on and finished before midnight. Very nice puzzle with several sweet surprises along the way.

Weekend Update

Dave and I saw CalShakes’s production of GBS’s Candida Friday night. It’s a play I’ve seen several times, but this has got to be the best production I’ve seen.

Dave and I saw Part I of Butterfield 8’s Pride and Prejudice Saturday night. I liked it even better than Part II, which we saw last week. Not sure how much of that is due to the acting being more confident, as it’s another week into the run, and how much to the first half of the novel being livelier than the second. I thought the direction was more varied and inventive in Part I, too, but then, there’s more variety in the first half of the story and thus more to play with; the second half of the novel is more dramatic and more focused on the tumult caused in the Bennett household by — well, if you know the novel, you know what I mean, and if you don’t, I’m not going to spoil the surprise.

I finished the Listener puzzle on the train on the way to Pride and Prejudice. Meh. An interesting idea but not a lot of fun to solve. Too much methodically slogging through possibilities and not enough finding logical inferences.

The rest of my weekend has been spent working on Tamino’s Magic Flute and doing laundry and dealing with the headache I’ve had on and off since Thursday. Now I’m feeling kind of queasy from the painkillers I’ve taken and too wiped to post more right now. I may write more about the plays later after I’m feeling livelier myself.


I’ve been working on this week’s Listener puzzle — a number puzzle this week, called “Number or Nummer” — for only about twelve minutes, and I’ve already narrowed down the possibilities to just 393,120.

Later: Is too much to ask in a number puzzle to have math that looks like math? With minus signs (HTML code: &minus;) or at least en dashes (&ndash;) instead of hyphens, and exponents that are actually raised (<sup>2</sup>) and not just in a different font?

Plus: In the clue for 13 Across, which is in the form X − Y / Z, could you maybe have added parentheses so we could be 100% sure whether you mean X − (Y / Z) or (X − Y) / Z? I hope I find out I’m wrong, but I have a growing suspicion that you mean the latter.

Still later: The order of operations in 13 Across is correct.


I finished this week’s Listener puzzle, “Toga” by Nod, this morning. I really thought I was going to finish last night — around 9:00 I had only solved about half the clues, but that turned out to be enough for me to figure out the “advice” spelled out by the extra letters, how to apply it, and what to do with the result. By figuring out in advance what was supposed to be the final step in the puzzle, I obtained several letters in the grid that I hadn’t actually solved yet, and that quickly gave me a few more answers. I was quite sure that I’d have it all nailed before I went to bed. But I got sleepy and ended up crashing with one clue still unsolved, and two more for which I was pretty sure I had the right answer but hadn’t yet worked out how the wordplay was supposed to work.

I finally solved them this morning — I was right about the two answers and worked out the wordplay, and the third clue turned out to involve some proper nouns I didn’t know that aren’t in Chambers Dictionary; thank goodness for the Internet. All in all, an enjoyable and not overly brain-busting puzzle.

More Collusion

Just now finished this week’s Listener puzzle, “More Collusion” by The Magpie. I’m grumbling a bit because I think there’s some ambiguity about the extra letters to be deleted from some of the clues, and I had to backtrack from the finished grid to figure out the exact path I was probably supposed to have taken to get here. However uncertain I am about a couple things along the way, though, I don’t see any ambiguity about the finished grid, so I’ve got my entry ready, and a Friday night finish.