I’ve been regrettably inactive on the cryptic crossword front for quite a while now, but I do have something to post about courtesy of BT: a selection of cryptic crosswords from way back when.
BT has done some fantastic detective work and scrounged up some blasts from the past. Here’s what he’s got in his own words:
The cryptic started off in the Women’s Supplement, a weekly tip-in.
(pg 18 – the Women’s Supplement has been scanned sideways.)
At some point it moved to the main section, #1161:
and some time after that, it was joined by the Quick, #8867:
(Note there is only one grid for both crosswords. This explains the Herald/Age’s doubled grids.)
(150th anniversary of the SMH)
By the late 80s, things are looking more familiar – two grids, cryptic above quick. Still no attributions.
I can’t be arsed finding the exact transitions – finding #1 was annoying enough.
Hints for finding crosswords:
Use http://www.google.com/archivesearch/advanced_search to search for anything before 1990. Set source to Sydney Morning Herald.
You can’t depend on searching for Puzzle or Crossword all the time – google’s text recognition doesn’t always pick it up. For early stuff, you need to look for high page counts (>10 pages) which indicates a tip-in like the Women’s Supplement. After it transferred to the main section, check the index on the bottom right of the front page.