I've been a big fan of the cryptic crossword blog, Fifteen Squared for some time. Their solvers tend to be able to complete Britain's hardest daily crossword in the time it takes them to tube between Leicester Square and Covent Garden.
Due to the usual holiday absenteeism, their usual big brains are away sunning themselves - no doubt doing the cryptic crosswords in El Pais for fun.
Which is why I'm their solver-du-jour today.
My first introduction to cryptic crosswords was at St. Andrews University. A bunch of us in the Maths/Physics building would hack away at the Independent crossword at lunchtime with more enthusiasm than talent while our "bridies" congealed in our stomachs.
Looking back, the ones who had ability at crosswords ended up having nothing to do with Maths or Physics. I guess you have to have a monomaniacal brain to succeed in Maths, and cryptic crossword ability is a sign of multi-manias.
Yes, John Feetenby, I'm talking about you - what're you up to these days ? Will bet good money you haven't used calculus these last twenty years.
Anyway, maybe this will spur me to improve my skills - maybe I'll even get round to compiling a crossword. I'm not sure though - you need to be something a poet to be a compiler, and I find prose hard enough.