About Lucian Poll

Lucian Poll logo
The result of my first three hours of Inkscape. My calling card, if you will.

Hello, you. I’m Lucian Poll, and I’m both a fan and a writer of dark, speculative fiction.(That’s “Horror” in old money.)

Now don’t run away just yet. You’ll find I’ve nailed your feet to the floorboards. See? Big long nails. Give them a tug. Now that’s workmanship! Look, I even took the time to avoid hammering through the bones in your feet, because I’m nice like that. Just relax, play nice and I’ll fetch my claw hammer at the end of all this.

So, yeah, horror fiction. What does that all mean to you?

Cheerless stories that slosh with ululating oceans of entrails and gore, and stuffed with detailed depictions of prolonged brutal rape? Ah. Sorry, you’ll be wanting splatterpunk – the stuff that all but killed horror as a mainstream genre fifteen to twenty years ago.

How about bloodless tales of sparkling vampires and fairies and impossibly ripped werewolves going at it like knives in ways that, ordinarily, would be considered bestiality? Again, I’ll have to disappoint you. You’ll find all that guff groaning in the shelves of the paranormal romance section – stuff that is all but killing horror as a mainstream genre right now.

No, you’ll find that Mr Poll much prefers to dole out death and terror in new and inventive ways wherever possible.

What was that? Like the Saw films, you say? Now, I really wouldn’t recommend upsetting me with such idiot talk. Don’t get me wrong, the first two were great, but… See? My hand has started to twitch. You did that. I’m afraid to tell you that’s never a good sign. Really afraid.

So what exact flavour of horror tickles Mr Poll’s taste buds, I hear you ask? (Yes you did.) As the strapline of my site attests, I much prefer to mess with minds in more ways than one. To disturb, yes, but so much more! I will thrill you and make you cower with fear. I will line up the most mind-boggling experiences for your delectation.

How? Best you set aside some room in your diary from Friday 13th September 2013. I’ll be sure to hit you with a killer novel of mine called The Floors for your trouble. I’d clear some space on your generic eBook reader now in preparation. All of that Fifty Shades shit can go for a start.

Look, there’s me yakking about my upcoming book and you are still none the wiser about little old me. How rude. So what would you like to know about Lucian Poll? Well, he tends to grump about in Norwich, UK, chiefly at weekends and outside the weekday hours of 9:00am-5:30pm. Sometimes he writes down horrible things, short things or long, and puts them out there for people to read. At all other times, however, he is someone else, who is also a grump.

Hmm? Why am I telling you this? My dear old thing, you didn’t think I’d let you go so soon, did you? I haven’t gotten to my claw hammer yet. Now, now, stop struggling. You’ll only hurt yourself. I’m only teasing you. Ah, here we are. Heavy old brute, this.

Now which side would you like me to attack first? Left temple or right?

48 thoughts on “About Lucian Poll

  1. Forget the hammer for now – I’m emailing you re this weeks Times puzzle. The clue about the shape of a Kitchen Instrument makes perfect sense IF you have played in an orchestra – in which case you will know that the Percussion Section is known as the Kitchen Section (Kettle Drums perhaps?) Like your website very much – explanations of our guesses especially!

    1. Fantastic stuff, Jeremy! Thanks for leg-up. I’ve mentioned this over in the comments for Times Jumbo Cryptic 1390 as this clue looked to have stumped a few of us. Thanks again for the help! – LP

    2. Jumbo 1501 – Sized is also relevant to wallpaper hanging which better fits the clue – in my opinion.

      Thanks as always for your excellent work

  2. Hi, Re Yesterday’s Jumbo Cryptic. 31 Across seems to me to be Enlistees. Ultimately neglectful (L) in SINE returning as in Sine Die (without a day) and TEES as in Tee shirts. Hope this helps, seems to fit the clue for me.

  3. Lucian, re Jumbo 1403.. 49 Across. “Express hesitation” is one phrase = “Go ‘ER'”, me thinks. And for 10 Down “A girl coming out” is a DEB from Debutante not the name, which I think parses better. Rod Ward

  4. Wish I was as good as you . Try every week but rarely totally complete. Jumbo 1406. Your explanation for reservoir 40 down has spelt that word as reservior . I am just being clever

    1. Oops! Thanks, Sid. I’ve now corrected the post. I’ve a decent hit rate, but I often need a little bit of help to get me over the line, whether it’s from a reference book, Wikipedia or people dropping by to lend a hand. We all seem to get there in the end, though, which is the best thing about putting these posts together. Thanks again for stopping by! – LP

  5. 1410 times jumbo Dorothy Bags. Clue is complete as One who visits Oz (Dorothy); lots = bags bags of fun for example. Also perhaps ‘reach crisis’ could be come to a head leaving point to be to be ‘a head’ in the geographical sense. Though that is something of a stretch.

    1. Managed to complete 1411, a rare event for me . It must have been less demanding than some .
      In your completed grid ( 1 ac.) I think you have a misspelling. I am full of admiration for your pexpertise . My attempts usually go on to Friday.

      1. Lucian

        In your solutions for a jumbo 1504, 24 across: PAL refers to Phase Alternate (not “alteration”) Line. Nevertheless I did get to the right answer in my attempt!

        Otherwise great stuff…well done.

        Alan Abrams

  6. Jumbo 1415 . 13 across remit ,means to send something given a task one can say it is not in my remit(or terms of reference

  7. Checking on how petitioner worked for no 1422 and noticed your comments on vagabond which I think is v for view ad for bill and Gabon for the country.

  8. Times Jumbo 1441. 33 down. I think the measure of fluid is quart, not quarters, inside hinders. I.e hamstrings (verb), not hinds (noun).

  9. Jumbo 1446 10 across. I took retro-style to mean old-fashioned as it was once appropriate to address one’s father as ‘Sir’. I know this as my father once took my brother & me to one side & explained that he would like us to call him ‘Sir’. This was around 1970 not in the Victorian age so obviously we never did & the silly interview was forgotten. I expect the setter using retro-style to mean both old-fahioned & in reverse.

    1. Agreed, Chris. Cool story too! (Insert fistbump emoji here.) I believe the use of “sir” in this way is also still a thing over in the US. As mentioned in my comment to Dr John, I was hoping to find the usage explicitly covered in a dictionary, but I guess “a word of respect used in addressing a man” generally covers it. Stay well! – LP

  10. Re Times Jumbo 1450, 38ac: Ammonite is correct – it’s an explosive consisting of TNT and ammonium nitrate, from where I suspect the name is derived. I had to use the good old interweb to check it, as the explosive definition does not appear in my dictionary! Best wishes.

  11. Hi Lucian, re yesterday’s jumbo. 40 across takes me back to my childhood as we had a slide at our village rec. When one slid down it was important to move away from the bottom to allow the next child to come down and avoid a nasty crash, hence no standing at the bottom was a rule of the slide often yelled by nervous mothers of the smaller children. Hope this helps John

  12. Hi Lucien

    Thanks for your blog. You regularly save the sanity of my 91 year old Dad who has been doing the daily Times cryptic since he was 17. Is this a record I ask myself? He’s not great at modern phrases “not in Chambers” and that’s where I come in. He has been instructing me in the arcane arts of criticism crosswordiums for the past 10 years. I think I am getting there. Not great with the dailies but love the jumbos.

    We found 1456 a stinker because of e.g Go Platinum. What does that mean?” Grumble, grumble…. I explained.

  13. Waiting for your comments on 1471… finished it this morning and it’s a horror show. Plenty of totally obscure nonsense and even one answer deliberately misspelled as a variant never used by anyone ever.

  14. Please don’t stop the ramblings!! I struggle on through the Jumbo, knowing that you will finally explain when I can’t for the life of me work out the parsing. I’m learning so much. And the comments are just joy to another grump whose classical education is not quite as complete as she thought, or hoped, it was! Please, ramble on!!

  15. Sitter Jumbo 1479. Sitter is a regular term for a simple catch that is dropped. It was often said to me during my playing days.

  16. Enjoy explanations why rarely manage to complete. Try some big band music. You can tell from that I am no youngster

  17. Jumbo 1492 , 26 across should be “Hunt the slipper not hide . Love your weekly comments. Try some good old big band jazz to accompany thoughts.

    1. Good catch, Sid! Many thanks for that. I’ve updated the post. I’ll get some big band jazz at some point, I’m sure! (Probably a spot of James Taylor Quartet – their sublime cover version of the Starsky & Hutch theme gets a lot of airtime in Poll Towers.) Thanks again, – LP

  18. jumbo 1496

    OHMS Correct about resistancevof course, but you’re too young. O.H.M.S stood for On Her/His Majesty’s Service.In my youth (1950’s / 60’s) all post to and from government was ‘free’ no stamps required. Letters from the tax people would come in brown envelopes with OHMS on them often with a free reply envelope similarly marked. later gov decided to charge people for communicating with it.OHMS disappeared into history.

    1. Lucian, old chap, how is it that you come up with answers to the Times Jumbo crossword when I haven’t even been out and bought the damn’ thing yet? Do you lurk at the printery gates at dawn (always providing some enterprising bods from Extinction Rebellion – long may they live – haven’t erected some protest type architecture outside) and hurl yourself manfully (oops, sorry, not woke), I mean personfully, on the first copy to exit the factory? Don’t get me wrong – I love reading your answers, and am positively thrilled when your critical comments exactly match the way I’m thinking. God – that makes me feel so clever. But when I stumble across the answers to clues I have not yet had the chance to read, there emits from my person a bloodcurdling shriek that might well be heard in Norfolk. And I live on the Hampshire/West Sussex border – so you understand just how decibel loaded this cry of anguish is.
      Keep up the great work Lucian – soothing furrowed brows and raising smiles.
      Penny Ibbott – a fan – one of those luridly coloured fake ostrich feather ones. Oh, wait a minute, wrong kinda fan…

  19. I thought you were quite rude about Mr Hardy and “ Under the Greenwood tree”.Damn good book , damn good author

  20. Jumbo 1557, 21 across.
    In trying to explain the answer (NOTABLE), we originally hit on NOT ABLE as satisfying “listless then?”. We weren’t entirely convinced, and then thought that a TABLE (in the sense of an organised set of data) could be a list. So, if you were listless, you would have NO TABLE. On balance, I think I prefer this explanation.

  21. Quite by chance, I came back to the Jumbo after a long hiatus, and I stumbled upon your page when I got stuck. Since then I have enjoyed the Jumbo, and I have mostly managed to finish with minimal resort to external sources. However, I found No 1569 to be a bit of a game changer, and it reminded me of why I stopped. I feel no need to elaborate as I am sure you know exactly what I mean. I am not sure if I will buy the paper tomorrow, it was only ever for the Jumbo, and I think maybe I am done, but thank you for the entertainment that the crossword often failed to provide.

  22. Thanks for answers and explanations fo Jumbo 1570 . Did not manage to finish it. It does not help when I had “school” for 23 down instead of inform
    Best wishes
    Sid Bocking

  23. Times Jumbo 1581, I thought 18d. was nicely worked, given that St. Helens is also the home of Plilkington Glass

  24. Times Jumbo 1594
    Can prove them, but two ideas on the parsings you still have in red…

    6 Ac Do suffragettes want to make their mark – by putting an X on a ballot paper?
    18 Ac Are “Performers” instucted to perform something “done to a T” – Tutti???

  25. Times Jumbo 1610

    16a: I toyed with “coverall” for a while but I think “covertly” is a better fit.

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