Crossword News August 2016


The July Prize Puzzle was Pending Solution by Chalicea. As one of the testers, I found the final step very tricky. Solvers were instructed to 'colour forty-seven cells, obstacle, structure and world-famous engineer' (AVON GORGE, cells depicting the Clifton Suspension Bridge IRON CATENARIES, two TOWERs and the TOLL ROAD, and the engineer BRUNEL). The shading in the final grid showed the bridge above the Avon Gorge with BRUNEL highlighted.


Here are some of the comments.


What a clever idea for a puzzle! I was not familiar with the Clifton Suspension Bridge prior to doing this puzzle, but I am grateful for the introduction to this structure. Chalicea's puzzle is a fitting tribute, as both bridge and puzzle are impressive engineering feats and lovely to behold!


Very nicely done with some searching for odd words but some accomplishment given the 47 cell requirement. I went off on a red herring looking up designers and their logos but failiing to come up with anything. Eventually (days later) I noticed the two symmetrically placed towers and wondered how Tolkien might fit before finally spotting Brunel which had been staring me in the face all along. After that Avon Gorge was easy and it was only a case of seeing that 14 more cells were needed suggesting a side to side path and iron catenaries emerged. Congratulations Chalicea,


Whenever I come across the subject - Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge - I am always reminded of the telephone boxes at each end linked to the Samaritans.  And, more recently, there was a campaign to install safety nets. I wonder what Brunel's reaction would be to his masterpiece?   Finally, I did like the crossword title!!

A quite straightforward puzzle until the final step -- those iron catenaries were tough to find!

There were 52 entries, 43 correct and 9 incorrect. Lower than usual entry for a Chalicea puzzle - probably due to the fact that IRON CATENARIES was pretty tough to spot, but a very well appreciated construction nonetheless.

The lucky winner out of the electronic hat was Ronan Cullinane, who will soon be receiving a prize donated by Chambers.


A full solution is available at


This month the Prize Puzzle is Hacked Off by Nutmeg. You have until the 8th September to send your solution.


The Prize Puzzle for September will be The Merchant's Tale by Dysart.


I recently told you of Ray Parry-Morris who was suffering from incurable Brain cancer. Yesterday his daughter asked me to pass on this sad news.


It is with great sadness, I must announce that Ray passed away peacefully in his sleep this morning surrounded by his family.

Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.


New plans for the continuation of the Crossword Club's monthly magazine look like confirming its existence. Editor Brian Head explained thus.


REACTIONS TO IDEAS FOR SIMPLIFICATION. Thank you all for your opinions most of which expressed modified rapture: Distribution: Most seemed to find acceptable the prospect of electronic publication especially given the limited paper option. Prizes: Some would be quite happy without these, indeed several said they would willingly forego those for the current puzzles. Most, however, would like at least a token award with some suggesting a resurrection of Alfreda’s bookplates. Clue-Writing Competition. I am pleased to announce that the present Judge would be willing to continue in the same role. Fees for Puzzles. So far a limited number of setters have expressed willingness to lend their work FOC. Subscriptions. With the abolition of payments the whole question of maintaining a membership list, managing accounts generally with submission of VAT returns and all the rest of it would be eliminated. The minor remaining expenses could be covered by voluntary contributions.


I would certainly recommend the magazine and if you are interested in subscribing you can get more information at

However, the prices may be out of date. Subscribe now and you can get a special rate. Up till February the charges are: Inland £15; Europe 20; Outside Europe 23; Electronic distribution £12.

The death was announced last month of the setter Petitjean. You can read his wonderful obituary in the Telegraph.


A 91-year-old woman has found herself in trouble with a German museum after writing on an exhibit. Part of the avant-garde artwork was meant to look like an empty crossword puzzle.
The latest edition of the Chambers Crossword Dictionary will be published on the 11th August. The paperback edition is available on Amazon for £13.48.

Crossword blogger, Alan Connor, who also creates the questions on Only Connect, has a quiz book ready for publication in November. You can pre-order for your Christmas list on Amazon


Many of you will know Jon Delfin as a formidable crossword solver with an enviable record in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Not so many will know that he is one of New York's finest piano accompanists. You can hear him play on his latest album accompanying Aaron Morishita, Singing Sondheim - Songs by Stephen Sondheim.

The Clue Writing Competition this month is a normal clue to LAUGHTER. You have until 31 August to write your clue at

Don't forget that the Crossword Centre is also a group on Facebook. You can join at
When Roddy Forman died in 2014 I was instructed to look after his crossword books and notes and to find good homes for them. I still have a box containing files with notes and copies of all his crosswords as Radix and as part of the Mango team. It seems a pity that they are just sitting in my loft. If you can think of a home for them please let me know. What happened to the plans for a Crossword Research Library?


Best Wishes