Crossword News June 2018

Last Month our Prize Puzzle was Old Titles by Curmudgeon. O(ld) Titles is an anagram of T S Eliot, confirmed by the letters in circles, and the theme was his work, Four Quartets, which appeared in the leading diagonal. The titles of the four poems had to be highlighted, as well.

Here are some of the comments from solvers.

Many thanks for a very entertaining puzzle.  I thought the grid was very cleverly constructed and the setter not only managed to keep the theme’s component parts on the horizontal orientation but managed to make the circled cells read in order in the grid, top-to-bottom, left-to right.  Also, the work’s title fitted neatly into its diagonal location and the whole was very nicely clued too.  And then there was the puzzle’s title cryptically forming the author’s name.  Clever stuff all round.  My thanks indeed to Curmudgeon.

An interesting puzzle which proved to be easy enough but I guess one might have to spend a lot of time with the dictionary to sort out all the Scots references and the obscure words. At least I did.  The highlights were also fairly straightforward, did not pose any difficulty. Happy I could finish this early since I’m soon off for the next couple of months.  Thanks organisers and setter.

A very quick solve but entertaining. I wasn’t overly familiar with the theme so a bit of research was required at the end.

When I saw that the first two circled letters in grid order were TS I assumed that they weren’t meant to be read in this order. After I found all of the circled letters and saw that they almost spell TOILETS when read from the bottom, I realised that they should be read in normal order.  I mostly know about the thematic work from having seen it used in other crosswords and I couldn’t remember all of the titles.

There were 49 entries, of which 3 were marked incorrect. The lucky winner was Dale Johannesen, who will soon be receiving a prize.

A full solution with notes is available at

You still have lots of time to complete the June Prize Puzzle, 20/8 by Wan.

The July teaser will be No Coincidence by Stick Insect. I can certainly recommend it!

Chambers will continue to supply our prizes. However, to prevent the exchange of personal data under the GDPR, prizes will be sent to me and I shall post them to the winners. I hope it will work.
Our zetaboards message board has been taken over by another company, tapatalk. Everything works the same and, indeed, there are some advantages. The old links will still take you to the new board, however, if you want to make a note of the new address, it is

Remember that registration only takes a minute and then you can make comments, reply to comments, send messages and add an avatar.
Last month I mentioned the memorial service for Colin Dexter and Don Manley has added more information about how this was organised.

“I was the instigator of the memorial service and choreographed it, contacting the participants I had chosen, with help from the sub-dean at Christ Church. This involved choosing the music and the readings, based on my close knowledge of Colin’s preferences. A few calls to Australia were needed to bring Barrington Pheloung on board, but he needed no persuasion. Jackie Gray organised the civic reception with Sally Dexter, and her husband Sir Muir made some introductions. Sally helped with both events and was brilliant at contacting guests and very generous in funding the event.”
Our clue-writing competition is going from strength to strength. You have a week left to enter the June competition. Just write a normal clue to UNION. Full details at


Best wishes from Portugal.