2549: Obscurity

2 April 2022

9:00 AM

2 April 2022

9:00 AM

Doc writes: This is Columba’s last puzzle for The Spectator which we are pleased to publish now, three years after he retired from the series.

One unclued light is the surname of the author of a novel whose title (two words) is hidden in the grid. Each word of this title has two synonyms among the unclued lights. Two unclued lights are surnames of characters in the novel, one of which can be divided into two words, each being defined by an unclued light; the other name is defined by an unclued light, which constitutes an instruction to solvers on how to treat the concealed title.



4 Plundered item operations officer returned (9)

10 Language in broadcast upset rogue (10)

11 South wind endlessly severe (6)

12 Sorry for retiring American musician (7)

14 Stand in front of buyer with audio player (5)

16 Proceed and set about conversation in America (6)

22 Study absorbing information brought back by English traitor (8)

23 Sailor who’s experienced lots, lad, sadly (7, two words)

24 Check name in advance (4)

25 Trees in mass stopping golfer (4)

29 Lacking knowledge since sadly getting into difficulty (8)

32 Like seaweed I found, not new, drifting round about (6)

34 Going around in trilby, strangely aesthetic (5)

35 Chiefly wanting one to be dignified (5)

38 Like some spectacles horrid men arranged, entertaining millions (4-6)

39 Transport in case site’s changed (9)

40 Area with points of intersection, not over range (5)



1 Tolerate particular angle (10)

2 Time on island for nymph (5)

3 Silly person in Scotland getting a plug (6)

4 Scraper in street with equipment one left (7)

5 Seeming well-informed, rising before opening in arena (10)

6 Dull people, nasty and surly, not unknown (7)

8 Explain convoluted clue, beginning to imperil engagement (9)

9 Portion put out, not acceptable (4)

13 Most obvious part of tribal destiny (7)

15 Pub, first off, taken in by lavish old stranger (6)

17 Game with nice end, oddly involving knight and last of pawns (10, two words)

19 Fabulists for example aim to break boundaries (10)

20 Period occupied by learner with support, I see, about some maths (9)

26 Lectures from master among boring events coming up (7)

31 Fool, once in class, runs away (5)

33 Long supporting popular record company (5)

34 Take off around start of summer recess (4)


A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 18 April. There are two runners-up prizes of £20. Please scan or photograph entries and email them (including the crossword number in the subject field) to – the dictionary prize is not available. We will accept postal entries again at some point.


Download a printable version here.

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