Welcome to September, and my new Crossword Competition to honour next year’s 90th anniversary of The Times crossword. Eager not to restrict the task of designing a 90×90 cryptic crossword to just a few select hardened hands, I have penned a few useful tips to encourage others to take up the challenge. It really can be a lot of fun, and in the spirit of my dear departed father and his immortal words, ‘our aim is to entertain, rather than drain’!

Winners will have their crosswords published on this site. See also my new piece under Articles, written especially for newcomers to the fascinating art of cryptic crossword creation.

STOP PRESS! Security improvements: I have decided, in view of recent developments, and with your security, dear readers very much in mind, to suspend both Facebook and Twitter feeds to this site and have instituted a new internal email: for all future correspondence regarding this website.

STOP PRESS! 15,000 Visits now exceeded! 

As promised the Word Games are back and much improved, and Sunil and I are happy to include our new popular clue list option to them as well. I think that by adding 5 monthly gems of concise crosswords to the Games repertoire from the pens of former crossword editors, Margaret Webb, for The Times and my dear friend, Barbara Hall, for The Sunday Times that we have finally managed to open up these priceless crosswords to the Globe, and I think Shakespeare too, were he alive today,  would be proud of our very British institutions! Please consult instructions for any further assistance, and spread the Word! – Sincerely, David Akenhead

NEW Crosswords and Crossword Games formats from August! You may have noticed a few changes to our products – with our advanced commercial crossword platform enabling me to make the very best of my facilities, ensuring maximum efficiency speedwise, timewise, and sizewise to our products. I liken writing computer crosswords to making the perfect cup of tea – a number (quite a few, actually) of subtle conditions must be met to make it, in the words of Goldilocks, ‘just right’! Keep the comments coming in! I like to think that no challenge is too great to do justice to our wonderful provenance. We are making changes all the time to improve your experience. Tell your friends!

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Akenhead Crosswords announced on 5th June 2019, the successful on-line publication (above) of the mammoth (already correspondingly large interest!) Diamond Jubilee Puzzle compiled by Brian Greer in February 1990 to celebrate 60 Years of The Times crossword, the original compiled by Adrian Bell and published in The Times, on Saturday 1st February 1930. We’ve just added a fantastic new clue list facility there too to enhance Greer’s magnum opus and we’ve changed the appearance a little also, to enable easier solution entry! As to projects in the pipeline: let’s just say for now, that they are huge, and they will, as ever involve you, my generous public! See my revised History for further details. Great fan of H.G. Wells! Shape of things to come, perhaps? (see my father’s article too of 17/8/1974 for a clue!). My latest efforts are focusing on improving the Word Games and the crosswords so that the solver is free to determine the amount of help required with every clue, if any – the aim being to extend the scope of appreciation of these wonderful titles of which I remain the proud guardian with my unique digital crossword archive.

Here at we take a deep pride in things British, and none more so than the UK Times crossword. Thanks again to David Parfitt, Times Puzzles editor for a welcome mention in his weekly bulletin (and the current crossword crew, of which I was formerly a part before my retirement). I should perhaps add, though, that there are no plans at present to reintroduce the subscriptions. Feedback to my email address below is always welcome.

The Jumbo Games, now available in our brand new format covering 5 months will remain a FREE attraction for anyone to enjoy. They now number 100 in total. In addition, and in response to readers’ requests for simpler Games – we are also introducing each month 5 NEW Times and Sunday Times Concise Puzzle Games (also FREE) based on extracts from Classic Golden Oldies. Note: September’s batch are now on-line! Enjoy!

NEW FACILITIES – Help and No Help – I have introduced these two innovations to encourage a wider appreciation of the crosswords themselves, leaving you our readers to decide on the amount of help you require, if any. I received an email suggesting I was defeating the point with the No Help versions by offering the solutions! I would like to reiterate that it is the same with the books, and in my new Games, where cheating is also a last resort and should be resisted unless defeat is conceded! All the same, I defer to my father, who reminded me “by their fruits, so shall ye know them!” In other words, even the experts can benefit from a leg up sometimes!

Additional NEW features include: FREE Crossword Games, NEW Articles, Crossword History (latest revision) and Visitors’ Top Forty –  Enjoy, and spread the Word! – Visits to this site now number 15,053. Thank you all, for your patronage!


This website is dedicated to the memory of my late father, Edmund Akenhead, magician and cruciverbalist extraordinary, writer of pantomimes, and quiet war hero, originally resident crossword Editor to The Tanganyika Standard – later East African Standard (15 years) and supplier of his crosswords to the Mombasa Times and The Times of India, and former longest serving full time Crossword Editor of The Times (18 years), inventor of The Times Jumbo crossword, instigator of the annual Times crossword championships and mastermind behind the early BBC 2 production, Crossword on Two hosted by Frank Muir and Patrick Campbell. On this website alone you will discover extracts from my exclusive hands-on Crossword Digital Library which I have compiled voluntarily and updated personally since 1980, and which now embodies a unique collection of almost every crossword book publication post World War 2, commencing with The First Book of The Times Crosswords commissioned by Penguin to my father in 1969. My entire archive (above) today comprises over 12,500 digital crosswords from The Times, and The Sunday Times newspapers including some early gems. Items marked R are excluded from public access on this site.

The crosswords available on this website have been commissioned to include digital crossword publications for The Times and The Sunday Times prior to October 2000 stemming from 1925 in the case of the latter and 1930 in the case of the former together with post WW2 rare crossword book publications culminating in mine and Richard Browne’s pride and joy, 75 Years of The Times Crossword (see article) under special licence from Times Newspapers Limited.

Very best wishes – David Akenhead, author of the Computer Crosswords and former Crossword Consultant to The Times from the lovely island (and people) and former earliest British colony, of Newfoundland.

Memorable Quotes

“This must be the crossword equivalent to White Knight or Colossus Bridge. To be compared to those two masterpieces in serious games programming is a true testament to the quality of The Times Computer Crosswords” Nic Outterside, Electron User Magazine, September 1988 edition

“My main reason for buying The Times is trying to solve the crossword, I love it” Mrs Maureen Henden, 26th March 2019

Thought for the month: “So go on in faith and let all do their own little best” Mary Aikenhead, Dublin, 5th September, 1815

Lest we forget: Alice Akenhead, George Medal, nurse St John’s Ambulance 161901 Western front 1914, 1915, 1916 from the first day of the Battle of the Somme, with the appalling loss of life of the young Newfoundlanders at Beaumont Hammel to her departure with her badly wounded brother, David, Captain 6th Lincolnshires (and others) after Fleurs Courcelette later that year. We will remember them.

Ubi Caritas et Amor, Deus ibi est 

In the interests of copyright protection, neither printout nor save facility is offered, rather the concede facility effectively enables users to reset their crossword to spec. (consult Instructions in the Crossword Menu). My new formula leaves everything neatly on the website with nothing saved on home systems thereby avoiding the dilemma of hackable downloads. Everything in my cloud, stays in my cloud.

David Akenhead CEO Akenhead crosswords – 17th September, 2019

The Times crossword 90th Anniversary Competition

On Saturday 1st February 2020 it will be 90 years to the day since Adrian Bell, our founding father, produced the very first Times crossword to be published in The Times on Saturday 1st February 1930.

To celebrate this very special occasion we at Akenhead Crosswords would like to invite you to submit your own English 90×90 cryptic crossword for consideration. The winner will receive the equivalent of sterling £1000 and the two runners-up will receive £500 each.

Conditions Of Entry

You must be 18 years of age or older and you are required to submit a non-returnable fee of sterling £5 or any equivalent acceptable to Pay Pal. Payment must be by Credit Card and membership of Pay Pal is not obligatory. You must supply an email address to ensure receipt of your fee, in the attached entry form which will be duly acknowledged.

The competition is open from today Sunday 1st September 2019 and closes on Saturday 25th January 2020. The winners will be announced on the following Saturday 1st February 2020 with the publication of their efforts on this website. An email attachment with Grid, clues and solutions, in the manner of Brian Greer’s former celebratory 45×45 crossword, is all we require. No computer knowledge is required.

Very best of Luck, and may the best man or woman win!
Sincerely, David Akenhead

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