Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Puzzle Corner: Christmas Traditions

2015's Radio Times' bumper Prize Crossword

Every family has its own set of Christmas traditions and it's no different for NAH and me. One of our favourites is the Radio Times (RT) bumper Prize Crossword of 60 or so cryptic clues, which marks the start of our festivities.

Puzzles such as this and the RT Trackword are a shared activity we both enjoy. It's a shame they seem to have dropped the Trackword Christmas special; perhaps they've run out of suitable Christmassy phrases for us to puzzle over. Those of you unfamiliar with the Trackword may like to try your hand with this online version I've found whilst writing this post. There's also an App if you're interested.

Over the past few years the crossword's become doubly delicious as a few of us get together on Twitter to exchange news on our progress. The first few days are sacrosanct: everyone is on their own to solve as many clues as possible, then little tidbits of help are offered in exchange for help elsewhere. It's only an extra hint mind, never the actual answer.

We've nearly completed this year's crossword, so thoughts are turning to other puzzles to tide us over the festive season. We're both enjoying Wordbrain and I see the director of GCHQ has designed a fiendish looking puzzle which I'm saving for the collective Chapman brains to crack when we visit the rest of the family next week.

Do you enjoy a good puzzle? Tell me about your favourites in the Comments below...

Update: Completely by coincidence, today's Google Doodle has a fun music puzzle based on the works of Beethoven. Here's the archive of all interactive Google Doodles, I particularly enjoyed the one celebrating John Venn's 180th birthday :)

11 comments:

  1. We love a nice big crossword here as well, and the eldest boy likes the odd puzzle magazine, although half the time I seem to end up giving him all of the answers. Hopefully he's picking up a few tips along the way though. You've reminded me that it would be nice to have a festive edition lying about the place for those odd moments. CJ xx

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    1. Puzzle magazines - yes! We always buy one to take on holiday with us... and last night we sat in Westherspoons doing their latest general knowledge crossword :)

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  2. Sudoku, but I've got out of the habit, and the knack.

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    1. I enjoy Suuduko too Diana. It also serves as an early indicator for me stress-wise. When I find I can no longer hold the numbers in my head, I know it's time to treat myself more kindly.

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  3. I am a soduko fan as well and I usually try the word wheel. The paper I buy at the weekend is very strict and gives target numbers for words found. I will put my "average" score down to stress now rather than being a bit thick! Thanks, VP.

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    1. Hi Sheena, Welcome to Veg Plotting. I must look out for that word wheel puzzle - it sounds good

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  4. I enjoy Sudoku and also the enigma, puzzles there are plenty of them online if you do a search.

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    1. More great suggestions, thanks Sue :-)

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  5. Oh the Christmas edition of the Radio Times is lurking in the living room somewhere so must dig it out and have a peek. I have a couple of large general knowledge Christmas crosswords in readiness and a new jigsaw puzzle. Good luck solving the uncracked clues!

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    1. A new jigsaw puzzle awaits us too Anna. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year x

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  6. We have done all but one clue of the RT Christmas crossword: I expect R will finish it off in the morning as that's when he's at his most awake (he didn't get to see it until today, as I always do my half first!). We are big Only Connect fans but think the RT wall is much harder than the TV one because you can't keep trying until you get it right.

    Anyway, just looked in to say Merry Christmas - sorry I haven't been in touch for months, my ME brain-fog has just been too bad for much in the way of blog-reading. I will try to email in the new year.

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