Solution to Farce by Yimin

Solution to the September 2017 Prize Puzzle

Farce by Yimin

Farce Solution



Prize Puzzle October 2017 – J MILTΘN by Flowerman

J MILTΘN by Flowerman

Eight clues contain a superfluous letter in the wordplay to be removed before solving. Removals leave real words but may ruin the surface reading. Removed letters in clue order specify what thematic elements, six in all (five in straight lines), are to be highlighted in the completed grid. Four other clues contain a superfluous word, all more than three letters long, to be removed before solving. Their initial letters in clue order identify a body associated with the theme. Solvers must highlight a different, and this time complete, set of thematic elements which are sole occupants of a six-sided block of the grid. One answer is not in Chambers.

1 Overcome deficiency of selenium in muscle (6)
6 Acknowleges information fellow left about fungus (7)
11 1ac fell over at start of skipping finals (5)
13 European baffled by the tower’s dull, maybe? (8)
16 Current dissent killing saint (4)
17 Paddy left carrying a guide for workers (5)
18 Sky division backing offbeat comedy shows (4)
19 Understandable to get rid of cold oven (4)
20 Poor Hutu’s content to work with university on issue (7)
24 Blind fish perhaps out of the ordinary (5)
27 One in French city losing son’s minute device (6)
28 Suggestion to ban no good couple (3)
29 Democrat remains in the race (4)
32 No name for unique succulent (4)
33 Bacteria in seed containers (5)
35 Figure on Indian governor losing independence (4)
36 Wine bar belonging to Australian soaks (4)
38 Endless praise for food plant (3)
39 Easily persuaded one to enter fine restored place (6)
43 Notice trick by expert (5)
44 French dramatist to stand in again (7)
47 Get enjoyment from spoken language (4)
50 Organic compound isolated after inversion (4)
51 Daughter wearing decorative shell in European city  (5)
53 Informally record disease (4)
54 Reported bad state of sailors (8)
55 Surprisingly only one rejecting old material (5)
56 Tells awful new cast to give up acting (7)
57 52s rejected local’s shady book (6)

1 Greedy lord securing constant earner deceptively (9)
2 Great lecturer enthralled by botanical angle (4)
3 Reliable worker planning to leave US city (4)
4 After feast take in pointers about salt (6)
5 Help after 51’s scratched scar (4)
7 Drink wine without joy mostly (3)
8 Prehistoric implement in ruin having head replaced (4)
9 The local cop freely keeping one in loop (5)
10 Catch 24 dropping off wife (4)
12 Girl out of line an ungracious person? (6)
14 Enclosed carriage overturned, half destroyed (5)
15 A third of room’s cleared for card game (4)
20 In effect, poor Tom’s coxed us endlessly (7)
21 Savour ice-cold bottles of the amber fluid? (4)
22 25, perhaps lacking hard ridge (4)
23 Wretch turned up half-shaven (4)
25 Sand-dune not fine for aquatic creature (3)
26 Wild mangos help to get rid of American’s purulent inflammations (9)
30 Wild shy missing prince (4)
31 Corpse ignored by slack new vaccine developer (4)
33 French naturalist wanting to fight scoundrel (3)
34 Republican following commotion after tenor leaves bouquet for Obama (4)
35 Carbon in mix with cobalt may alloy (6)
37 Rod’s clothing left in shed (5)
40 Colleague half-heartedly sheltering outlaw in state capital (6)
41 Beneficiary getting shot of Conservative sweetheart (4)
42 Screw welcoming liberal meal (5)
44 Correct answers extracted from frenzied woman (4)
45 Great confusion in established church (4)
46 Liberal feeding an issue for Australian plant (4)
48 South American ready with a material for making hats (4)
49 Mountaineers unsteady when climbing without year’s experience (4)
52 Turn to heave with head down (3)

Crossword News September 2017

Crossword News September 2017

Last month we had two competitions. The August Prize Puzzle was Extraordinary Rendition by Nutmeg. This lovely puzzle suggested that 1ac Doctor in Love, a 1960 British comedy film, sounded like a publication from 317ac. Mills and Boon. Unclued lights were either words for bills or a moon, Callisto. Bills and Moon is a Spoonerism of the publishing house and the name Spooner had to be highlighted.

Here are some of the comments from solvers.

A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle with a delightful PDM. It took me way too long to spot the personage, but I did so with a big smile!  The novel was published in 1957; I read it as a Teenager in the sixties. I suspect that I would find it rather dated now and shan’t spoil good memories by returning to it.

A marvellous idea by Nutmeg, neatly using Mills and Boon.  Using Beak and the excellent comedian (“Hokey Cokey” by Kraftwerk is one of his gems and available on YouTube) for two of the Bills was a nice diversion.  The clues were excellent – enough to make a novice setter sigh and give up hope.  Many definitions were delightful (“somewhere to go” for PO, “regular drawing” for LOTTO, “organ case” for BRAINPAN), there were some nicely hidden definition/wordplay splits (“no sound reason”, “part of insect’s leg”, “Former Italian tenor”) and many clever wordplays.  I could go on and on!  Vital set of instructions in case of surgery and Big fellows goin’ down were favourite clues.  Many thanks to Nutmeg for an exhibition.

Another gem from Nutmeg with a clever and amusing angle on the reverend’s wont.  Great stuff, I really enjoyed it. Thank you, Nutmeg.

There were 54 entries, of which 5 were marked incorrect. The lucky winner was Todd Konkel from the USA, who will be receiving a prize from the publishers of the Chambers Dictionary.

Our Summer Special was Inwards Outwards by Vernon. This puzzle had an unusual grid and words could be read in either direction, rather like a spiral palindrome.

Here are some of the comments from solvers.

A novel idea (to me, at least) and cleverly done to create a working sequence in both directions.  The feedback given from the answers in one direction obviously provided a lot of help for those going the other way, so solving was pretty rapid, but an enjoyable challenge.  Thanks to the setter, whose challenge was I’m sure much greater.

A pleasant change from the usual run of things. Clever too.

I suspect this was much more difficult to compile than it was to solve but none the worse for that. Many thanks to Vernon. I liked Lustrate most.

The construction of this puzzle must have taken a good deal of work.  Finding a string of complementary words of good length with overlaps, indeed, seems rather marvellous.  So, congratulations to Vernon for that.  There were some lovely surfaces: “Rubbed out” (a euphemism): hotshot died and Unconcerned about cold drink that’s usually hot being two that caught the eye especially.  Some wordplays were excellent too: “Wages of sin?” for “lust rate” and “see largely moderate” as an anagram.  The DAILY to LADY Spoonerism was either serendipitous or very clever editing!

There were 52 entries and, not surprisingly, all were correct. The lucky winner was Mark Nichols from Rugby, who will soon be receiving a prize.

Solutions to both puzzles are available here

Our Prize Puzzle for October will be J MILTΘN by Flowerman.

Currently, we have puzzles ready to publish up to December but absolutely nothing for 2018. For many years we have relied on the good will and support of setters who have donated puzzles for our free website. At the moment I am feeling quite desperate about our continuation next year. Submissions urgently needed.

I was sad to hear of the death of Michael Macdonald-Cooper. I had met him a few times over the years and I found him very friendly, witty and with a truly genial personality. It is my regret that, despite regularly visiting friends in Kirriemuir, I never took up his offer to call in for a cup of tea.

His obituary was published in the Herald.

MICHAEL MACDONALD-COOPER, M.A. (Oxon) of Westmuir, Kirriemuir, Angus. Crossword compiler for Oxford Today and Dundee Bridge Club, former crossword compiler for The Independent, The Times, The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday, The Listener, former crossword editor for The Independent, winner of the Oxford Observer Superbrain title in 1984, BBC TV Mastermind semi finalist in 1986, winner of The Times Crossword Championship of Great Britain in 1991 and Channel four Countdown Octochamp in 2008, departed this life aged 75 after a short illness on 28th August 2017 in York Hospital. Crossword enthusiasts may recognise Michael’s various pseudonyms, such as Calmac, Spurius, Andrew Campbell. Michael was much loved by his wife the late Cecilia, by his brothers Stephen and the late Nigel, by nieces Leanne, Elinor and Olivia and by nephews, Kevin, David, Allen and Gavyn. Michael’s humanity and wit characterised him as much as his great intellect. R.I.P. Reception of remains in St Mary’s R.C. Church, Lochee, Dundee on Tuesday, 19th September at 6pm. Funeral Mass on Wednesday, 20th September at 11am. followed by interment in Kirriemuir Cemetery at 1pm approximately, to which all family and friends are respectfully invited.

Here’s Michael’s quirky prizewinning clue from an Azed competition.

“Accommodation for Heidi, high, we’re told? (6)”
Good news from Brian Head regarding the future of the CROSSWORD magazine. After the six-month feasibility trial, it appears that the magazine will continue for another year. He is asking subscribers to pay £30 for the next 12-month period.
Times Crossword editor, Richard Rogan will be at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, giving advice and help in solving the Times crossword. A free event, he will be there every day at 11 am from the 9th to the 13th October.
In his September 7th Guardian crossword, Enigmatist produced a puzzle celebrating the 25th anniversary of Classic FM. In the perimeter he managed to write the surnames of many of the Classic FM presenters, Tim Lihoreau, Catherine Bott, Anne-Marie Minhall, Myleene Klass, and Nicholas Owen. This crossword was matched with another on the same theme in the FT, also by Enigmatist. Check it out in the Guardian blog at
You can try Columba’s latest Spectator puzzle at

And finally, try this clue of Michael Macdonald-Cooper, as Spurius. Thanks to John Henderson for pointing it out.

Mad, passionate lovers (7)

Best wishes

Crossword Centre Prize Puzzle September 2017

Farce by Yimin

Title of the Work: _______________________________

Printable 2 page PDF

Although encouraged by kind comments to set another puzzle, Yimin’s hapless proof-reading persists. Four clues are missing completely and 24 have a misprint in the definition. Correct letters in clue order spell out an instruction which will lead to a quotation being found. The title of the work from which the quotation is drawn must be written beneath the grid. The quotation and the settings of the work should enable solvers to complete the fill.


4. Pence belonging to child on loan with good for nothing miser (8)

10. Doggie’s holding chewed innards of guinea-hen – gee! (6)

11. Lean German twice runs last leg of relay (6)

14. Blokes expending money to arrange topless embrace (6)

15. Former babe, empty-headed, comprehends with difficulty (7)

16. Piece of Imari tableware’s porcelain (5)

17. Periodically, rampant psychos trap animals (5)

20. Boomeranging propeller screws cause, essentially, chaos for US marina (5)

22. Mummy, once a year, entertains new athletic male (7)

23. A French Chef de Gastronomie laid down Port of 22 (4)

25. Hope to turn aside attack – ignore Queen and advance Rook (4)

26. Torn shoe – renovate Cuban heel after trimming tips of nub end (7)

27. Pour gin before Horse and Jockey closes (5)

28. Taking drug, passion deserted spouse (5)

30. Cuddles local senora, desperately wanting love (5)

33. Panda car out blocking strike (7)

36. Defaced golf clubs head offers for sale (6)

37. Colourless compound, about 250 grams, excluding tritium’s 60 moles (6)


1. Border, cutting South Australian, gains victory at my expense – sigh (5)

2. Chase men fleeing from crashed Cortina (3,2)

3. Ring about Academy’s woman of great rigour (7)

5. People of empire enclose Central Caucasus before onset of snowstorms (5)

6. Monty Python’s finale follows old chestnut as intro (4)

7. Chinese province replacing name by mark relating to Mao (5)

8. Fruit sounds frightful (4)

12. Towels hung out buffeted by fresh air (7)

13. Alter the Tyne River – erect banks beside heart of south Newcastle, say (6)

18. French capital to the test; Revolutionary Marshal in retreat amid punishment (7)

19. Starts to sing out answering yellowhammer’s cheep (4)

20. Fundus is bottom of ileum, note (4)

22. Master gunners rejected Albanian soldier (6)

24. Chosen queen a character in Greek mythology (7)

28. Git on passing whim adopts writing eccentricity (5)

29. Piet’s slashed colour contains flecks of auburn and copper (5)

31. Cake found occasionally in Carry On studios (4)

32. East End arse cycling’s a varment (4)

33. Chap who cooks after rigging short crack pipe, consumes last of cannabis (4)

34. Thandie Newton, not American national princess, in that cast (4)

To enter this competition, send your entry as an image or in list format giving the title of the work  to before 8th October 2017. The first correct entry drawn from the hat will receive a book donated by  Chambers.

Crossword News August 2017

 Crossword News August 2017

The July Prize Puzzle on the Crossword Centre was James Patrick? by Towser. The puzzle was themed on HENRY and a Henry had to be removed from some across clues. The remaining across answers can be somewhat mispronounced (in clue order) by Laurence K(err) Olivier as Henry the Fifth: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, or close the wall up with our English dead!”

Here are some of the comments from solvers.

A satisfying puzzle to solve on a number of levels. I was thrown for a while by the (occasionally) lengthy definitions in normal clues and by the (occasionally) lengthy clues that lacked a definition! I did like the free rendition of ‘Once more………………’   Good stuff – thanks!

Many thanks to Towser for two crossword’s-worth of clues in one puzzle.  They were very enjoyable, with some delighful abbreviations – hands, mark of the beast, only child.  An inventive idea.  Even when the nature of the redundant words had become clear, spotting them was not straightforward – shrapnel, particularly.  The “withering glisk stead” was cute!  And thanks for not torturing solvers with a tricky clue for STEDD/STEAD.

Have we had a 15 x 16 puzzle before ? This 78 clue extravaganza was a celebration of HENRYs, with the surnames, nickname/titles and in one case first name of 24 famous examples appearing as redundant words in 24 across clues. The 16 remaining across clues had no definition, their answers in clue order providing a roughly homophonic version of Sir Laurence Olivier’s famous Saint Crispin’s Day speech from the 1944 film version of Henry V.

There were 42 entries, of which only one was marked incorrect. The lucky winner was Bill Stewart, who will soon be receiving a prize donated by our sponsors Chambers Dictionaries.

A solution is now available at

You still have time to submit a solution to our August competition, Extraordinary Rendition by Nutmeg.

Our September Prize Puzzle will be Farce by Yimin. As I shall be on holiday on the 1st of September the puzzle will be published on 25 August.

The 1500th Inquisitor crossword was published last month and the editor, John Henderson, wrote this article in the i.

The evolution of a weekend institution
i’s Inquisitor, one of the country’s most ingenious and teasing crosswords, celebrates its 1,500th instalment today. Its editor, John Henderson, recounts its complex history of baffling readers I t has been said that cryptic crossword compilers are an eccentric bunch. If so, perhaps public opinion is well expressed in this email, received shortly after the Inquisitor moved from The Independent to i in April 2016: “Now that I have the solution [to Inquisitor 1439: Life After Death? by Nimrod], and with the aid of an old A-Z and my microwave instructions, after two weeks I have deduced that this is not a crossword at all, but secret instructions about the invasion of Narnia by an armchair and six toothbrushes at 4am tomorrow morning, followed by cocktails on the terrace. Obviously the three ‘winners’ named are actually spies. Perhaps you would let them know that their bover is clown.” Admittedly, the reader had a point. The puzzle, involving rotation of letters in their cells, empty squares and appropriate colouring of certain areas of the solution grid, was a pretty brutal introduction for i readers to the Inquisitor. However, the winners, duly enlightened with respect to their bover, had indeed actually arrived at the correct solution. Which says something, does it not, about the Great British Solver? Specific crosswords typically evolve along similar lines to solvers. Number one in our series, in the Independent Magazine’s Independent Pursuits section of 10 September 1988, was imaginatively headed “Crossword”. Entitled “Sacrificial Pawns” by Mass, the grid was 18-by-18, numbered up to 76 and had 32 thematic entries. A bottle of champagne was the prize and the crossword occupied the whole page, with the early remit for compilers being to “supply something suitable for the additional time people were believed to have available at weekends…” For some unaccountable reason, the week after Crossword 349, “Weekend Puzzle” #1 appeared. There had been no noticeable shift in style up until this point, but it was during this series that Mike Laws took up the editorial reins, and there were various changes in appearance, prizes on offer – and name and numbering. Following Weekend Puzzle 600, we arrived at Inquisitor 1 (and a blogging spot on FifteenSquared); after 151, the correct numbering – from 1107 – was reinstated. During this time, Mike occasionally wrote (in the commentaries he originated) about a “natural development” of puzzles and contributors. I’ve been editing IQ, as it has come to be affectionately known, since Mike died in the spring of 2011. Puzzle 1175 was his last as editor, and my first. As it was a sort of joint editorial effort, I was asked to look after IQ “for a few weeks…” So, here we are at 1500, then, and we hope you enjoy SPINK’s puzzle. To celebrate, there is a separate prize, a bottle of champagne, for deducing SPINK’s identity from the following (answers to Hard surface ended insane, Start of hope with confusion to gain Provided before Uncertain mind, or I’m not sure to go after champagne

Eccentric? Us?

Mark Goodliffe and Simon Anthony, founders of the Magpie magazine, have started a vlog on YouTube, in which they discuss how to solve the Times crossword. Absolutely fascinating! Take a look at

I am indebted to Nick for pointing out this article on Schrödinger puzzles.

Book of the Month on the Crossword Centre is the digital edition of Chambers Crossword Dictionary. As the Kindle app is free, you can read the digital edition on any device. If you are already using this version I would appreciate your views and comments.

The new message board is running well and is getting a lot of visitors. Already well over 100 people have registered as users and there are lots of interesting posts. Make sure you visit and save it in your bookmarks.

In the city of Lvov in the Ukraine a 100 foot crossword puzzle has been designed on the side of a building. Clues have been scattered around the city and at night the answers light up to reveal the solution.

Seven years ago I edited Armchair Crosswords by Afrit and with the help of my daughter, Lucy, the book was published. In his book Afrit (A F Ritchie) had included a short introduction to the puzzles in which, for the first time, some rules of fairness in clue-writing were laid down. Any decent history of the crossword will quote from the introduction. Moreover, the crosswords are fun and can be fairly easily solved.

We published 500 copies and there are now less than 100 copies left. You can find more information at

And finally, Jeff Pearce was solving puzzles in a collection of Times crosswords from 2003 when he came upon this uncanny premonition in two adjacent across answers.
Best wishes

Crossword Centre Summer Special August 2017

Inwards and Outwards by Vernon

Printable PDF Version

Reading inwards, one following the other, is a set of words. Reading outwards is another set of words.

1 Hair with special highlight (6)
2 King with adder slithering around (6)
3 Fruitcake, male, largely silent, weird (6)
4 Wages of sin? Purify by sacrifice (8)
5 Unpleasant person turning informer repeatedly (6)
6 Humour in show? Empty drollery (6)
7 Amazing: angels do return to some extent (8, two words)
8 Fraud hearing charged pretentious person (5)
9 Fail to observe the rules of the game and withdraw? (6)
10 Strangely well fed or reared on blossom (11)
11 After running wild, do I get a bloomer? (7)
12 Container for vessels that are wide and primarily buoyant, curiously (9, two words)
13 Extremely sentimental if repeated (3)
14 On entering bastard son made a loud noise (6)
15 “Rubbed out” (a euphemism): hotshot died (7)

a Unconcerned about cold drink that’s usually hot (5)
b After combining, mixture finally flared up (7)
c The two of them gather round a market stall (5)
d Violently batter old drum (6)
e A nasty wet day with endless rain was in store (7)
f Old giant’s head on monster (4)
g Review mediocre female composer (4)
h Left-wing friends consistently ignored (3)
i Returned Will’s cool emblem to Cambria (4)
j Unsettled, drove round borders of Ukraine (7)
k Wipes out parasites (7)
l Lord’s associate every day, according to Spooner (4)
m In a revolutionary state, see largely moderate politician (8)
n Seeker of better value cost cutting (8, two words)
o Malignly influential newspaper embraces reactionary measure (6)
p Draft incorrectly? I’m returning first of all, so don’t revise anything. Wait! (7)
q Rests uneasily − meeting of French tarts? (8)

To enter this competition, send your entry as an image or in list format to before 8th September 2017. The first correct entry drawn from the hat will receive a book donated by the Crossword Centre.

Crossword Centre Prize Puzzle August 2017

Extraordinary Rendition by Nutmeg

Printable PDF version

The 1960’s novel 1ac sounds like a 37ac production, though in fact it wasn’t. Both of these are clued by wordplay only. A historic personage who, being married, was presumably once a 1ac, appears in the grid and must be highlighted (7 cells). His extraordinary rendition of 37ac accounts for the unclued lights, unchecked and mutually checked letters of which could produce FATAL B-BRICK

1 Novel involved 13 minus five (12, 3 words)
9 Priest put back gold-plated vessel (5)
12 That man’s cutting lace pants for little nippers! (6)
13 He drew men over into court (5)
17 Ploughs historically used to be turned west to south (4)
18 Former Italian tenor in inevitable return to gaol (8)
27 Part of insect’s leg, unknown one eaten by mate (8)
30 Suit bound to appear back to front (4)
33 Vital set of instructions compiled in case of surgery (5)
34 Quickly fixes drink after work (6, 2 words)
35 Dig up ground near hut (7)
36 Line representing serviceman in artist’s regular drawing (5)
37 Works by French novelist something to be thankful for (12, 3 words)
2 Bar last to fall within city’s limits, aptly (8)
3 Tireless criminal runs away, making good use of events (7)
4 Talk involved name-dropping (5)
5 Scottish harvest gatherers heading off? (6)
6 Cheers up, welcoming in old faces (5)
7 Round jar such as we have locally (4)
8 Big fellows goin’ down, heading to bottom (6)
11 No sound reason for lack of water? Water coming up (8, 3 words)
14 Bishop drops down over organ case (8)
16 Distinctive quality of hearing ultimately lost (4)
21 If nothing’s struck, oddly it’s a blow to Alpinists (4)
22 Trendy means of opening door one’s found on roof (7)
23 Marsupial needs somewhere to go, with disorder mounting (6)
24 Duke pinches floosie’s bottom prior to a grand celebration (6)
26 Bush in US is up and about, always rising first (6)
28 Firm friend’s contribution to glossy film? (5)
29 Soil must shape nature (5)
31 Car used by Pope located (4)

To enter this competition, send your entry as an image or in list format giving the highlighted personage to before 8th September 2017. The first correct entry drawn from the hat will receive a book donated by Chambers.

Crossword News July 2017

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