Meet the Bloggers

Meet the Bloggers

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Current Bloggers


GazzaGazza is in his late sixties and retired to live in Devon after a career in IT. His first taste of cryptic puzzles was with the Guardian in the 1970s.  It took many weeks of trial and error before he managed to finish one, and many months before he could complete them on a regular basis (something like BigDave’s blog, had it been available at the time, would have been a godsend!).

Since then he has been hooked and has tackled one or other of the broadsheet cryptics most days.  He regards himself as a total amateur who is weak on crossword theory (although he has learnt a lot since becoming involved with this blog).  He is no way competitive, never posts entries to competitions (rumours that this is because he is too mean to buy a stamp are scurrilous!) and does not even own a stopwatch.  These days his favourite puzzles are the ones in Private Eye (because they make him laugh).



The identity of Libellule is a mystery.

All that is known is that he lives in France, and enjoys watching Rugby and doing crosswords.

Like the Scarlet Pimpernel he has adopted a disguise, in his case it is that of a dragonfly.


TilsitI started solving at a very young age and when other young men were discovering different types of magazines, I was discovering the joys of Quiz Digest and Tough Puzzles, although didn’t fully understand many things except Printers’ Devilry puzzles. Cut teeth on Altair in the Guardian and went on to discover the joys of Araucaria and the late Bunthorne, the latter becoming a personal friend.

With the advent of the Internet, I rekindled my joy of solving and with encouragement got into the murky world of Azeds, Listeners and such-like. Became a moderator on Derek Harrison’s excellent site and finally got into compiling, having had puzzles published in the Indy Mag, The Magpie and others. Ambition is to be good enough to be published regularly and to see in print his idea of a Listener puzzle on the works of Barry Manilow, although it has to be said that this may be over the dead bodies of certain Crossword Editors!

Ill-health has slowed me down a little, although I do manage to get to one or two crossword gatherings round the country. I have appeared on Mastermind and Countdown, coming second on both. I set quiz questions for a couple of local quiz leagues and am happy to take on further work in this direction. Other hobbies include playing bridge and assessing football referees.


ProlixicProlixic is at manifold times and in sundry places a property lawyer working for the national law firm Shoosmiths, a Church of England priest serving in Egham and St Mary Le Bow, Cheapside, husband to Kim, parent to two lively teenage boys and a solver, setter and blogger on Big Dave’s Crossword Blog.  His crosswords appear regularly in the Not The Saturday Prize Puzzle series on this blog and have been published under his own name in the Church Times and as Prolixic on Alberich’s crossword site.  As Kairos he sets crosswords for the Independent.

His first experience of solving crosswords was staring in bemusement at the Daily Telegraph crossword as a teenager.  This trend continued when he started work trying to solve the crossword in the then newly published Independent.  Having been re-introduced to the Daily Telegraph crossword by a friend, he began a daily struggle to complete the crossword on the commute to work.  Following a move out of London, a longer commuting time gives him time to tackle the backpage and the Toughie on the way to work and the FT and the Times on the way home.  The Guardian and the Independent are also tackled if time permits!!

Prolixic blogs the Not The Saturday Prize Puzzle and Monthly Prize Puzzles when he has not set them, and hands out invaluable advice to the Rookies in Rookie Corner.


GnomethangGnomethang is a controls engineer working in the Building Automation and Controls market. In his spare time he spoils walks around golf courses and has been a regular solver of the Daily Telegraph Cryptics for the last 20 years.

Recently he has also been taking on the Times, Guardian and occasional Independent Cryptic.


BufoBufo is another of the bearded beer-drinking crossword clan. He is now retired and has been solving crosswords for over 50 years and setting them for over 25 years.

He regularly solves the Times daily and jumbo and the Listener each week. He sets very few puzzles these days but does aim to have a Listener crossword published every couple of years or so.


CrypticsueSue was introduced to the Telegraph Cryptic Crossword in 1969 when she  started commuting to London as part of a large group, one of whom did the Cryptic every day and explained how the clues worked.

More than forty years later, having become a blogger for BD, she is now even more addicted to cryptic crosswords and has not only added the Times, Independent, Guardian and FT puzzles to her daily routine, but also test solves crosswords for several of the setters of the NTSPP.

Married with two grown up sons, when not solving puzzles she can be found reading (anything and everything), making cakes and walking at least two and a half miles a day.


FalconFalcon is a retired telecommunications engineer living in Ottawa, Canada as well as a relative newcomer to cryptic crosswords, having taken up the pastime (to which he quickly became addicted) following his retirement in early 2008. However, he does have a fairly solid foundation, having been a longtime solver of regular crossword puzzles. Furthermore, his training has been greatly accelerated by closely following a number of British cryptic crossword sites, in particular, this one.

He produces a couple of blogs covering syndicated British cryptic crosswords carried by newspapers in Canada – the DT Cryptic (featured in the National Post) and the Sunday London Times Crossword (which appears in the Ottawa Citizen and other papers). These puzzles are published in Canada a few weeks or months after they appear in the U.K. His aim in these blogs is to complement the material already available on the British sites and not to duplicate it. He has discovered that there are often differences (sometimes blatant and sometimes quite subtle) between British and North American English which add a whole extra level of complexity to these puzzles for those on his side of the pond (and which also gives him something to write about). If you are curious you might care to check out the National Post Cryptic Crossword Forum and the Ottawa Citizen Cryptic Crossword Forum.


pommersPommers studied chemistry at Manchester University in the early 70’s and started doing Guardian cryptics with a friend during his postgraduate work. When he realised he could not be a perpetual student and moved out into the real world he switched allegiance to the DT for reasons now lost in the mists of time!

He moved into Sales and Marketing in the mid 80’s and for 20 years only had time for the occasional weekend puzzle and not many of those as most weekends he was sailing the Irish Sea in his yacht ‘Firenze’.

His interest in crosswords was renewed when he took early retirement in 2005 and moved to live in Spain where he enjoys the climate and the relaxed way of life. He lives near a small town called Almoradi in Alicante province with his wife (Pommette on the blog), 2 fat cats (not overpaid businessmen but very obese felines!) and 2 more pestilential pussies (cats of the long haired variety that shed fur everywhere!).

He and Pommette solve the DT cryptic together every day over lunch but the DT Toughie is his breakfast treat as Pommette doesn’t go there!

Away from crosswords he can be found playing bridge, drinking wine (sometimes both) or working on renovations to his rather dilapidated house.

From time to time he teams up with Kath and they review puzzles as archy and mehitabel.


DigbyDigby was born and raised on a North Yorkshire farm, and presumably named because his parents really wanted a dog.

A career in the Fleet Air Arm, doing much the same job as Roger “Rufus” Squires, (though not at the same time – he’s MUCH older) led to a series of proper jobs in Sales and Marketing.  This resulted in him starting his own GPS Distribution business, which he now runs from home in Heavenly Henfield.

Other pursuits include tennis, Parish Council, Am Dram, the odd glass of wine and, of course, crosswords.  Never won the Telegraph pen, and has spent far more on stamps than it is worth, but that’s not the point!

Deep Threat

Deep ThreatDeep Threat is a retired tax inspector in his early 60s. He has been solving Daily Telegraph crosswords on and off for over 40 years, but has only begun to do them regularly since retiring.

He lives in Staffordshire, and is married with 3 grown-up children and 1 granddaughter.

Other interests include bridge, croquet and touring in his caravan, especially in France.


MiffypopsMiffypops lives deep in the rural beauty of South Warwickshire with his long suffering wife (Saint) Sharon.

Thanks to his parents he cannot remember life without crossword puzzles.


mehitabelKath, one of the blog’s favourite commenters, has joined the blogging team.

Occasionally she teams up with Pommers as archy and mehitabel.


ToroToro, a forty-something linguist-turned-economist, had been an occasional solver since his youth until, on a whim, he downloaded a demo version of Crossword Compiler and became hooked on setting.

He has had several NTSPP puzzles published on this site and now blogs the Tuesday Toughie.

He enjoys it, but still thinks a blank grid awaiting words and clues is the best crossword puzzle of them all.


2kiwisAs our avatar and pen name indicate we are both New Zealanders born and bred.  Although our ancestry is British and Scottish, three of our parents were also born in NZ and the fourth emigrated here as a young man in the 1920s.

We are both in our early seventies, have been married a long time so must be pretty used to each other by now.  We have three adult children and six grandchildren.

Home for us these days is a little settlement beside the sea and a river estuary, about 100Km north of Wellington on the west coast where we live a life that involves lots of beach walks, reading, writing, golf, bridge and of course, cryptic crosswords.

KiwiColin has been doing cryptic crosswords on an irregular basis for as long as he can remember, one of the bad habits he picked up from his father.  However the pastime has grown to its present obsessive status only since we started solving puzzles together and then, quite by chance, discovered this blog site a few years ago.

We find that the combination of a literature and writing background on one side, and science and general knowledge on the other, complement each other and solving puzzles together has become a pleasurable shared experience. This has become a precursor to sharing the cleverness of the puzzle with other solvers around the world through this blog. Writing the regular Wednesday Hints and Tips has added a further enjoyable dimension for us.

Guest Blogger


Jon88Pianist, accompanist, arranger, musical director, copyist.  Also constructor, editor, test-solver and proofreader of crossword puzzles.  Appeared in the documentary “Wordplay” (2006) by virtue of having won the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament seven times.

A member of the National Puzzlers’ League, crosswords published in the New York Times, Washington Post and Games magazine, regular solving of Times, Telegraph, Spectator and Private Eye puzzles. Farther afield, works in theater and cabaret, and was the assistant musical director for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey for five years..


Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and CleopatraBig Dave and Crypticsue


archy and mehitabel

archy and mehitabelPommers and Kath

Note the lower case names as archy, a cockroach, can’t hit the shift key on his typewriter!


Batman and Robin

Batman and RobinBig Dave and Tilsit


Fred and Ginger

Fred and GingerTilsit and Crypticsue

Bloggers Emeriti

Peter Biddlecombe

Peter BiddlecombeNow into his fifties, Peter is currently the Crossword Editor for the Sunday Times.

Crossword Achievements: Times Championship Winner, 2000, 2007. In the final 7 other times in a total of 15 attempts. Daily Guardian solver from 1978 to about 2003, then gradual reduction to favourite setters only until autumn 2006. Now do Guardian on Saturdays and occasional other days. Indie solved on Saturdays since about 1998, daily since autumn 2006, though sometimes a few days behind if busy.

Times solver for a brief optimistic spell at school, then from about 1983 as part of two-puzzle daily routine. Regular Azed solver, occasional clue comp entrant – best effort is a VHC for a Printers Devilry clue. Very patchy Listener record at present – got about 25-30 puzzles right in each of 3 years, early to mid-1990s. Occasional setter of puzzles but for tiny audiences so far. Occasional solver of US-style non-cryptic puzzles, currently daily solver of Times Two non-cryptic puzzle.


AnaxBegan composing rudimentary crosswords at 6 years of age, going on to explore cryptics ten years later. About 25 years old when given his first spot, on the Birmingham Post, by Roger Squires.

After a long break from commercial setting joined The Times in 2007, The Independent in 2009, and the Financial Times in 2010, and actively contributes to most cryptic crossword blogs. Also supplies Puzzler Media and a number of monthly in-house magazines, and has several puzzles on Free Crosswords Online (the website of FT regular Alberich).

Away from crosswords Anax plays bass guitar for a funk/disco/soul covers band, and is a keen photographer – although 2010 marks his final year as official track photographer for Buxton Raceway in Derbyshire; crosswords, music, his daughter Xana and partner Moonstruckminx are his priorities now.

Future plans include joining the other quality dailies and a weekly spot for his Imperator puzzle (an entry level barred crossword).


RishiA resident of Madras that is Chennai, India; b.1943; retiree; got into solving after the topic of crosswords cropped up in a conversation among a bunch of cousins and friends sometime in the 1960s; to begin with, solved crosswords, mostly U.K. cryptics, in book collections and in reproductions in Indian newspapers.

Have had experience of sending from Madras completed puzzles to the New Statesman and a couple of other journals but my name always remained in the hat. Published works include six quick crosswords in the now-defunct Evening News of London and one cryptic crossword in the Cryptic Clue Workshop at New York Times Forums on the Web, not to speak of appearances in India.

Have taken part in a crossword show on Doordarshan (TV). Have conducted crossword quizzes in colleges. Proud owner of a large collection of crossword books and dictionaries. Co-owner and moderator of a crossword community on a popular social networking website. Originator of Simple Clue-Writing Competition in the Usenet group rec.puzzles.crosswords. Have visited the U.S. and Canada. Like listening to Carnatic music and Tamil film songs and watching Bharatanatyam recitals.


scchuaScchua lives in Singapore.

Created 28 March 2009

Updated 20 January 2015