I noticed that Pappocom (Wayne) had made an announcement a while back http://forum.enjoysudoku.com/viewtopic.php?t=4966
but that doesn't tell us the exact reason. I must presume that there must be commerical reasons for both parties. Perhaps Wayne could enlighten us further?
I too have found this week's champagne puzzles much easier that the usual Pappocom ones, although I have not yet seen today's puzzle. Actually one of the more interesting things about Sudoku puzzles in general is that difficulty levels are always somewhat subjective.
I have always found the Pappocom puzzles most interesting, and I am a little disappointed that The Times are no longer doing Pappocom.
I am hoping that the new ones will prove to be as exciting.