Shredded Tweet.

What do birds eat for breakfast?

Tweetabix? Cock pops, quite possibly? Sugar puffins? Or an owl of
corncrakes..

And for lunch or dinner?

Chicken chat served with Dijon bustard, a mynah grebe salad and a finch of
salt, all washed down with a swift bittern?

Too much to swallow, perhaps? If I could find an adept cuckoo could pull it
off, the critics would be raven about it!

(Incidentally, one of my favourite clues ever was by the late, great
Bunthorne: ‘Bird, but not a blue tit? (9)’*

But what does all the rest of this have to do with crosswords?

Well, having peeped warily past the dark curtain of the parallel universe
frequented by us despicable setters, I strongly feel it’s time for us all to
join the real world (if indeed there is one).

Tweeting has arrived. Frankly, I don’t understand it. But many lovely people
have been kind enough to follow me, and the least I can do in their honour
is to spend a little time spouting nonsense in a weekly blog.

So do please tell me what you’d like to hear about from the world of cryptic
crossword setting. Thank you!

Best wishes,

John (Paul)

*REDBREAST

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2 responses to “Shredded Tweet.

  1. First of all, happy birthday.

    My real name is Paul. I was such a keen crossword solver and compiler for an office magazine that when you started to be published in the Guardian under that name, my friends asked if the crosswords were mine. This went to my head – if only they knew the skill and determination needed to reach that level!

    Recently I read the touching story of your pseudonym. So next time I see those friends I will claim that the famous compiler is my brother, though I don’t have one.

    I would like to ask about grid filling, which seems to be neglected in the ‘how to’ books. I know many of the tricks of the trade but I wonder just how many favourite words of his own choice a top setter will preselect for a standard 15×15 before having to choose from what else fits?

    Also, do you believe there is a good clue to be found for every word or are there some for which something sound is the best that can be done?

    Thanks for making crosswords even more fun with your humour and willingness to take risks.

    Paul Pridmore

  2. Thank you Paul for your very kind words.

    I have a Word document onto which I dump ideas, fully formed, and embryonic. Then I choose a Guardian grid which suits either the theme with those words, or the specific ideas on the document. At a push, one can put around 12 ideas in one grid, but I’d advise far fewer, and then to concentrate on words which rock your boat, or that you find entertaining.

    Really sorry I can’t be more helpful at the moment – life is busy, what with marriage preparations, but do keep writing, and recommendations always welcome!

    Very best wishes

    John/Paul

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