The letter ‘B’ is scattered all over the FT News Puzzle for March. The BBC and its troublesome relationship with a star presenter dominated the airwaves, as did Brexit, Boris Johnson and the UK government’s policy to stop boats of refugees.
Appropriately, the compiler for the March News Puzzle is Paul Bringloe, one-time advertising copywriter, now a full-time compiler, whose FT crossword handle is Neo.
In trying to find as many news references as possible for the puzzle, Paul divided his task into three. The first was to accept that some words or phrases would have nothing to do with news events, and could not easily be worked to support the news theme. “I worked hard to try to keep these to the absolute minimum, but some just wouldn’t budge,” he says.
Second, he looked at an entry with no obvious connection to the news theme, but one that at least could be manipulated to become topical.
For example, the word purged happens to be an anagram of ERG, the Brexit-supporting European Research Group, and DUP, Northern Ireland’s unionist party, “so it was possible to point the clue towards the Northern Ireland protocol”.
Third, he found he could come up with solutions that directly reflected the news theme. Stop the boats, Rishi Sunak’s migration policy mantra, slotted into the grid easily. “The definition was obvious, all I needed was a cryptic part to complete the clue.”
The News Puzzle appears on the FT crossword app on the last Sunday of each month.
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