Want to publish a crossword on this site?
My decision to publish guest puzzles on this site has turned out to be a very good one. It has given many aspiring setters the chance to publish their work, and some of them have now become professional setters for national newspapers. I claim no credit for the latter – these setters would have made it anyway – but it’s nice to know that you saw them here first!
That’s great but these days I receive far more submitted puzzles than I can cope with. Up to now I have solved each one and offered feedback which was usually quite detailed. For publishable puzzles I’ve suggested changes where necessary, a process often involving a considerable amount of correspondence. Then there’s the making up of the final pages – all of which can take up several hours of my time. Even for non-starters I have usually offered an analysis which takes a fair time to do. I have provided these services for free and am still happy to do so, but not when it gets to the point that it eats into the time I am supposed to be writing puzzles myself, and also into what I like to think of as real life.
With some reluctance I have to stipulate some rather stricter conditions on submitted crosswords for publication than I have in the past. In practice this means:
Landlady’s anger creates influence (8)
to imply L and EVE has RAGE creates LEVERAGE is not welcome, and though I appreciate that some people consider the “wacky” running together of the first three elements really clever, enough so to justify the clash of the two verbs, I do not. If there are only a couple of examples of this sort of thing in an otherwise well-clued puzzle, I will suggest amendments, but puzzles where this is the norm will be rejected outright and I will not enter into any debate.
I’m sorry if the above seems a little harsh, but I stress that as I offer my services for free when it comes to analysing and publishing crosswords from guest setters, there is only a limited amount of time I can devote to this and given the number of submissions I receive these days, I have to be rather more picky.
The practical details of sending puzzles are as before:
After looking at your puzzle I will let you know whether or not I intend to publish it. If I decide to reject the puzzle, you are welcome to send another submission after an interval of six months. If it’s a “nearly there” I will suggest possible amendments. I do not make changes to published puzzles without agreement from the setter – it should be your own work that people see and I know how annoying meddlesome editors can be! The only details I will amend without consultation are typos, misnumbered clues etc.
I write a brief introduction to each guest puzzle, so if you would like to say a little about yourself for me to include in what I write, please feel free. Also, if you want me to put in a link to an e-mail address or your own site I’ll gladly do so.
Please bear in mind that my setting work for the FT and Independent takes up a fair amount of my time, and so it may be anything up to a couple of months before I get a chance to deal with your puzzle. Usually it will be sooner than that, and I do acknowledge initial receipt of submitted puzzles within a day or two, unless I happen to be away.
One final point: Sometimes I receive a puzzle which needs quite a bit of work in the form of minor tweaks to make it publishable, but which has enough potential that I don’t reject it outright. In these cases I’ll go to the trouble of suggesting and explaining possible improvements, and it can take up a fair bit of time to do this. That’s fine, but a couple of times I’ve had no response to my e-mail for several months (a year in one case!). I realise that one’s life can be thrown off track by unforeseen events, but it’s hardly too much trouble to write a quick e-mail explaining the situation and asking me to put the puzzle on hold. Likewise I’m not too chuffed when, as has happened a couple of times, I’ve gone to the trouble of publishing a puzzle – which also involves quite a lot of work – and not had a word of acknowledgment. I stress I’m talking about a very small number of cases, but it’s sad that even some people clever enough to write cryptic crosswords need a visit from Mrs Manners. There’s not a lot I can do about it, but the offending parties shouldn’t be surprised by a lukewarm response if or when they finally do decide to get back to me!
Any questions? Please contact me. Otherwise I look forward to receiving your contributions, and thank you for visiting this site.