The next two Wednesdays will see a couple of original Sticklers appearing instead of The Stickler Weeklys. This will give me a short break to get a couple of important things done.
It was with some trepidation that I opened the crossword files in the Daily Telegraph (DT) folder labelled ds3023 and ds3024. The last time these crosswords were accessed is listed in my DT book as 19/11/2007. Back then I sent a week’s worth of Sticklers the Monday before the week they were published, and these two crosswords were published on the 30/11/2007 and 1/12/2007 respectively. The process involved checking over the next week’s crosswords before the final publishing files were created and sent to the paper. They had been written and initially checked 6 weeks before, so the break before the final sending was enough time for me to “forget” what I’d done and allow for an independent re-checking of sorts. After all, I had written almost 1000 clues in-between. They say you should never check your own work, but I think it’s OK if you can’t remember what you’ve done.
These two (and thousands like them) have sat dormant on successive computers, having done their job at the time. They were never syndicated or put together in crossword collections – just used that once. So when I decided to revisit a couple to cover The Stickler Weekly‘s absence for a short time, I was a little nervous about what I would find. I had been through this before when I put the Stickler Boxed Set together, which gathered crosswords from 2004, but somehow this felt different. How much difference had three years made? How similiar are ds3023 and ds3024 to the crosswords I set today? We are talking about a different type of crossword, as those written today are international and weekly, but fundamentally they should be the same, shouldn’t they?
I’m pleased to say that I have been rather buoyed by revisiting these crosswords – they were done at lightning speed and as part of a huge body of work that continually drained the creative juices, yet I think they still stand up.
I’m sure you’ll tell me if they don’t.
Look out for them in coming weeks.