Crossword News July 2017

The June Prize Puzzle was our ninth Round Robin, Liven Up With… This puzzle was based on the saying MONEY MAKES A MAN. Ten answers had to be arranged with the addition of an M to make a man’s name.

Another toughish puzzle reflected in the smallish entry

Total Entries: 37. Correct: 31. Incorrect: 6

(Main error was KAGU for RAGU)

The Lucky Winner out of the Electronic Hat was Paul Henderson who will soon be receiving a prize donated by Chambers.

Here are some of the comments.

Can’t believe that we have reached our 9th CWC Round Robin Puzzle already, needless to say I enjoyed this one just as much as previous editions. I particularly like elegantly constructed puzzles where the thematically adjusted entries are located symmetrically in the grid, as here with the original 10 men’s names. It was perhaps a slight shame that not all of the Ms in the names were either unchecked or mutually checked, as contributors clueing MESIAN and MULISH (and AARGH and RAIN once those 2 had been solved) may have started with a marginal advantage over other solvers. On the other hand, contributors of clues to other thematically adjusted answers were possible temporarily delayed by the lack of any immediate certainty on cross-checking with their own clues’ entries.  Many thanks to all contributors for another fantastic group effort!

I found it tough getting a firm toehold at first, possibly due to the variety of authors and also the cunning nature of the thematic clues.

B****y hell! I came close to giving up several times during the month. The penny dropped while sitting in the sun this afternoon and suddenly all became clear. This was a tricky puzzle with some challenging clues – one or two of which I still don’t quite get (eg 2dn). I also don’t quite understand the title of the puzzle – maybe I’ve completely messed up!  However, a tour de force with setters vying to write ‘the clue of the puzzle’. I’ve selected 3 which I thought particularly deft.

Solvers were asked to vote for their favourite clue. There was a clear winner with a tie for 2nd place.

1st: 10 across – Steve Bartlett – 16pts
TONEY – Hip joining two articulated body parts

2nd=: 5 across – Chris Brougham – 7pts
AARGH – Hot platter (divine) almost turned over – how dreadful!

2nd=: 3 down – Margaret Irvine – 7pts
SHOAT – Attempt to secure a potential bacon supplier

Once again, I am gladdened by the good will of the volunteer clue writers. This was a very clever grid conceived by Wan. Many thanks to all.

A full solution with notes is available at

In August we will be publishing two crosswords. The Prize Puzzle is Extraordinary Rendition by Nutmeg. We also have a summer special, Inwards Outwards, a very clever puzzle, by Vernon.

I am pleased to say that, with recent submissions, our pipeline is full until the end of the year. We would still welcome submissions for 2018.

The Crossword Centre message board has been, in my opinion, the best forum for discussion of crossword matters for many years. However, recently I have received lots of complaints about intrusive and upsetting adverts. I intend to move the message board to a Zeta board. The advantages are, firstly, the adverts are smaller and less intrusive. Secondly, once you register the board will recognise you and it is much easier to add comments. Early reaction to the new board has been very positive so I will soon change all links to the new board. In the meantime, do register with the Zeta board at

And add the site to your favourites.
Guardian setter Boatman will be holding another of his popular crossword masterclasses later this year. It will be in Brighton on the 4th November. You can find all about it at

Also in November, another Guardian setter, John Halpern aka Paul will be giving a fun-filled masterclass in how to tackle the cryptic crossword. You can get all the information and how to book at this link.

Remember that tickets for both of these masterclasses would make an ideal birthday or Christmas present.
The crosswords in the Spectator magazine are always of a high standard. You can try the latest by Columba at this link.

The Times National Crossword Championship will be held on Saturday 4 November in Times HQ, 1 London Bridge Street, London SE1 9GF. Competitors have already done the qualifying puzzles and have been allocated places in the preliminary rounds.
And finally, confirmation of what we have suspected all along. Doing crosswords keeps your brain young.

Best wishes