Saturday, May 31, 2014

Frank’s Finale (Puzzle No. 1,634)

Summer is nearing, and The Nation is into its bi-weekly publication schedule.  This summer, we’ll use the off-weeks to go back to some Frank W. Lewis originals.

We’ll start with the last puzzle he constructed for The Nation, No. 1,634, which was first published in May 1976.  It’s very typical of the Lewis style: more British, with frequent cross-referencing within the puzzle and answers split across multiple lights. 

The solvers who complain about Hot and Trazom’s cluing will have even more to get upset about.  There are unindicated anagrams, word associations, and other things you might find in a Puns and Anagrams but break the strict Ximenean rules typical of North American cryptics.  Be aware of that as you work on the puzzle, and you’ll have a better chance of solving it.  

Add to that the sometimes-obscure words in the grid (remember these were all constructed without the aid of computers and the internet), and these are truly hard puzzles.  I struggled with them when I was first solving cryptics, and I still get stuck often today. 

Maybe you can do better; maybe not.  But we’ll try and use a summer’s worth of these puzzles to build up some new solving skills together.

Degree of difficulty (by standards of the current The Nation puzzle): very hard

Back with the solution and annotation Monday.

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