Crossword News August 2015

Last month the Prize Puzzle was A Bright Future by Vernon. The six undefined answers were words that could be colours if one letter was changed. The new letters spelled ORANGE. Most solvers recognised the TV jingle - "The future's bright, the future's Orange".

A well-received puzzle – not as many comments as usual, but I think that was just because of it being quite a straightforward puzzle without too many problems.  The clues were appreciated by many.  A fair few expressed concerns that the preamble was not clear as to whether to amend the entries into the colours or not, although in the end only one entrant actually did this.


Total entries received             66

Correct                                    58

Incorrect                                  8



2 had OPEN-TOPPER for open-topped

2 had PICA for PICK


2 omitted the required ORANGE from below the grid


First out of the electronic hat was: ADRIAN JOHNS, who will soon be receiving a prize donated by Chambers.


Here are some of the comments.


We found this fun to solve, with a fair bit of guessing for some clues. We hadn't solved 7 down (PIC?) but, of course, the endgame told us that this had to be PICK in order to produce the piNk that would give us the endgame word ORANGE. The endgame was original. I am sure we were not the only solvers to attempt to anagram PREEN, EMBER, MARION, BLOWN and BLUR, before we realized that something else had to happen (with, of course, a broad hint in the title). I liked the deceptive use of 'introductions' in the preamble.  Thanks to Vernon.


It was an enjoyable puzzle with some good quirky clues (LOVELESS and IN SUM both took a bit of teasing out). Spotting the colours didn’t take too long - and then of course the title made sense.

My entry for this month’s puzzle attached, with many thanks to Vernon and all at CC.  I particularly enjoyed the clue for “Amoretto”.  I think my two-year old son would approve of the crossword as a whole, all things orange having a magical allure.  The future is indeed orange…..  Thanks again

Among the comments there was this lovely note from our Canadian friends.

...Thank you from the Mcclellans for this great puzzle Ron in New Brunswick, Katherine in British Columbia, and Eileen in Mahone Bay ,Nova Scotia. We all start the puzzle in our respective homes then burn up the phone lines comparing answers. Love you crossword centre, you have helped brighten our present  and  we look forward to a bright future . Thank you, Eileen Gogol

This month we have two prize puzzles, both of which count towards our Crowther Cup, Star Turns by Wan and Organic Matter by Flowerman. The Prize Puzzle for September is Treasure Hunt by Harribobs, which, I am sure, will test the old grey matter!

On the 28th July there was a lunch to celebrate the Azed Crossword no. 2250 held at Wolfson College in Oxford. John Tozer made a fascinating speech about the Ximenes competitions. He has now made this available online, as well as Azed's reply and a poem by John Burscough and a Limerick by Mick Hodgkin. You can find all this at

David Harry took lots of photos of the lunch and they are available at

Azed fans will be very pleased to hear that, after recurrent problems with the Guardian website, you can now access the Azed crossword directly from John Tozer's & lit site.

The Scrabble world was amazed when New Zealander Nigel Richards won the French Scrabble Championship. The reason was that Nigel did not speak any French but just learnt the French word list by heart! You can read more here.

Andrew Fisher, who has competed against Richards has written a very intelligent essay about him. He has made it public and you can read it here.
I was interested to see a new book on the English language, Word Play by Gyles Brandreth. I thought it might interest crossword enthusiasts so I have made it our Book of the Month. I would certainly add it to my Christmas wish list. Here is a review from Amazon.

The title of Gyles Brandreth's new book promises to do the latter - and the author delivers on that promise with evident relish. At quite a pace, Mr. Brandreth romps up and down the English language, gleefully tickling just about every logophile's fancy: pangrams, anagrams, malaprops, games; metaphors, lipograms, loan words, names... The chapters vary in length which makes it ideal for dipping into; the tone is light and witty as one might expect. All in all, a terrific, highly-enjoyable book that supports the claim that English is the richest, most remarkable language in the world.

Best wishes