I was mortified when the first two words were discarded, turning the question into a questionable statement.
Despite the equally ludicrous claim that the puzzle would take the best part of a year to solve, ten brainboxes sent me the correct solutions within hours. They are, in order of receipt, Simon Anthony, Clive Weatherley, Derek Harrison, Ivan Reid, crypticsue, John Chute, Mark Williams, Graham Dixon, Stuart Sussex and Lesley Duff. Congratulations and respect to them.
Regardless of its dubious first appearance, it’s still a grid I’m proud of, so don’t let that put you off having a go. I’d be happy to confirm the result.
Please feel free to download the ‘world’s hardest cryptic crossword’ using the button, below.