I’ll no say men are villains a’; The real harden’d wicked, Wha hae nae check but human law; Are to a few restricked: But och! mankind are unco weak, An’ little to be trusted; If self the wavering balance shake, It’s rarely right adjusted! 

Robert Burns Epistle to a Young Friend May 1786

Two wheels on my wagon but I’m still rollin’ along, things look bad, but I’m singin’ a happy song! Hilliard and Bacharach 1961 – We climb mountains! See our latest App Preview! – Thank you to David Parfitt for his welcome continuing plug in Saturday’s Times Puzzles Bulletin – DA

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STOP PRESS! Over 44,800 Visits to date!

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1. Improving your puzzling experience daily, we strive to please! Lockdown is over globally, it seems, and we all need to re-establish some degree of normality, and this website is no exception. Access to standard computers for some of our products and services on this website still remains FREE for several items, not least our popular crossword games, and mammoth crosswords, however, we reserve the right to withdraw or restrict any free products henceforward without notice (see 2 below). The launch of our new Commercial App is postponed until late summer and will reflect our obligations to TNL, but our NEW Preview App may be sampled above. It is envisaged that our already highly popular games element will feature strongly in our new App in addition to some of our classic Vintage crosswords – DA

2. With the easing of the lockdown, and for reasons explained earlier, I have reinstated the US$10 Annual Subscription to the Crossword Archive on this website. Subscription is via PayPal who accept non-member cards as well. Added to the Archive today are my Times crossword Vintage Albums, however, I have decided that the Sunday Times equivalent will remain FREE to all comers here at least for the time being. They are a fascinating and valuable historical record. The Commercial App, I am currently developing will be an additional facility, but it will be subject to an entirely separate small fee for rental quarterly or annually when it is released.

In the meantime, sample our new simulated FREE introductory app (see above and a work in progress) designed for mobiles, note books, and hand-held users to help you decide if an additional small annual or quarterly rental of a choice selection from the Archive of our permitted range of products appeals to you, coupled with my Vintage Times Crossword Album featuring the first 100 crosswords in 1930 from that stable, and I have adjusted certain clues to reach out to a modern audience as well, where it has been deemed appropriate. We all live in changing times, however, I am adamant that changes only appear in accord with my late father’s mantra – ‘Our aim is to entertain, rather than drain!’ In short, we still hope to produce something special for everyone worldwide at very attractive prices. 

3. Crossword Games – This effectively means that the four NEW categories containing 50 of each of The Times Crossword, The Sunday Times Crossword, The Times Concise Crossword and The Sunday Times Concise Crossword are added to the 4 varieties of Jumbo games (100 all told) bringing the total to 300 games for you from the pens of Edmund Akenhead, Margaret Webb, John Grant, Brian Greer, Mike Laws for The Times and Barbara Hall for The Sunday Times.

I have now brought out a brand new game, based on Richard Browne’s invention, The Times2 Crossword, which he produced in abundance before he became Crossword Editor of the Times, as well as the books on which I was his proofs Editor for Times Books over several enjoyable years. 10 sample games are already available on the App in the form of my new Times2 Crossword Compendium, and will be the central feature of my new Commercial App, and appear in a different App-friendly manner when it is launched – estimated late August now – and will feature 1000 games of the same, using a similar formula to my previously highly successful Times and Sunday Times 1000 Series. It should be noted here too, that I have decided to replicate in my Games the same formula as the Books, namely Concede Solution, employing my father’s timely advice embodied in his immortal ‘let the dog see the rabbit!’ Best way to learn the criciverbalist’s art is start with the end product and work backwards! The challenge is for each of you uniquely to compete against the clock, and the sole prize is an enhancement of your mental aptitude – Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano – your prayer must be for a sound mind within a sound body – Juvenal. My Crossword Games can do this for you! They are also a fun way for you to master the English language, as well as a stepping stone to several others, I dare say!

Time too that we recognised Richard Browne’s remarkable contribution to this story, his Times2 crossword being a worthy successor to Margaret Webb’s earlier exquisite Times Concise Crosswords. Also with The Sunday Times, Barbara Hall’s contribution, which resulted in my highly successful Sunday Times Crossword Compendium employing Microsoft Windows with invaluable input from my good friends, John Martins and Martyn Ranyard in the late 90s featuring Barbara’s cryptic and concise puzzles, has my equal admiration and gratitude as doubtless, indeed, our most persistent market, Moscow, where it featured in their Puzzles Top Ten for an entire year!! Glasnost at its best, I suggest, Mr Gorbachev!

4. I have ensured that our standards are the highest demanded. Thank you – David Akenhead

5. Included above is my completed 90th Anniversary Times Crossword, a 45 x 45 finished product with some 208 clues for all to enjoy. Just click on 90th Ann. above to proceed – alongside Brian Greer’s earlier wonderful Times Diamond Jubilee crossword which was my inspiration for my own 90th Anniversary effort this year.

6. I have devised a new method enabling people through my bar/category system above to zone in directly to any items of interest on this website – See revised History as well.

7. Our WordPress platform permits me swiftly to blend Times and Sunday Times crosswords with my system, enabling me to produce my NEW Crossword Albums from the earliest crosswords as well as enhancing my products with useful gems from The Times Archive affording me too a wonderful insight into the workings of The Thunderer between 1785 and 1985.

We at Akenhead Crosswords would like to mention a few notable gems from the Archive, but perhaps now is a good moment to add that some of these are rare and much sought-after items, and we have been generous in the extreme extending Christmas to them as well, and as they begin to feature in our new Preview App above, they as archive items are now limited to just the first crossword in the series, starting with Margaret Webb’s pioneer sellouts for Penguin, and highly prized First and Second Books of The Times Concise Crossword Puzzles, her own brilliant innovation for the Thunderer! – needless to say, existing subscribers are exempted. My Crossword Games on this site will remain FREE for the time being. We feel that if our products are irresistible, so too is a small quarterly or annual premium!

Witness in particular:

‒ Edmund Akenhead’s remarkable Books 1 and 2 with his own innovation, the 27×27 Times Jumbo Cryptic Crosswords, entirely his own work, bar one crossword from yours truly, continued by the Times team under myself with Book 3 and Brian Greer, then Books 4, 5 and 6 under Mike Laws and yours truly, Margaret Webb’s classic compilations of The First and Second Books of The Times Concise Crossword Puzzles published by Penguin in 1988 and 1989, respectively with 240 Puzzles in each, (but appearing in The Times in the spring of 1983 while my father was still Crossword Editor), John Grant’s, The Times Crosswords Omnibus Books, with 120 Puzzles in each, published in 1995 and 1996 in turn, under my editorship and programme for Times Books, Barbara Hall’s single, Sunday Times Crosswords Omnibus Book with 120 Puzzles which emerged at the time of the second in The Times Omnibus Books series also under my editorship. Brian Greer’s The Times Crossword Masterclass and his The Times Crossword 2000, followed by Mike Laws in 2004 with The Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword Book 6 which he and I pioneered through Times Books, launching the first of the Everest trilogy, published in The Times between May 1999 and April 2000 in the original 27×27 format and subsequently added to by Richard Browne with Books 7 and 8 in the Saturday Times Jumbo 23×23 format.  Finally, 75 Years of The Times Crossword, put together in 2005  by myself and Richard Browne, with a timely Foreword by Colin Dexter to celebrate that occasion.

Then there’s Edmund Akenhead’s earlier Classic East African Crossword collections.

‒ Visitors’ Page: this experiment has proved a very interesting gauge of interest of the Top Twenty countries visiting from near and far for the current day, and a list below of viewers’ countries who have visited us to date (presently numbering 143). Interesting to witness the expanding global appeal of the digital crosswords.

‒ I have managed to prove that this facility is international, desired and unique in its content thanks to the efforts of just two mathematicians, myself and Sunil Kumar Mutaka, a highly gifted young man from Bhubaneswar, India.

‒ Thank you Times Newspapers Limited for your welcome continued weekly promotion of my website.

 ‒ Security improvements: With the latest WordPress model for our platform, your privacy and security are assured:

Internal email:

davidakenhead8@gmail.com for all correspondence on this website

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Akenhead Crosswords announced on 5th June 2019, the successful on-line publication (above) of the mammoth Diamond Jubilee Puzzle compiled by Brian Greer in February 1990 to celebrate 60 Years of The Times crossword. That entire work is available for your enjoyment by clicking on Jubilee (above) as is my newly completed 90th Anniversary contribution.

Here at Akenhead crosswords we would like once again to thank David Parfitt, Times Puzzles editor at TOL for a welcome mention in his latest weekly bulletin.

To summarise, current features include: Extensive Crossword Archive subject to subscription, Vintage Crossword Albums (Sunday Times still FREE), Articles, Crossword History (newly revised), The Times crossword Diamond Jubilee Puzzle, The Times crossword 90th Anniversary puzzle, many assorted Crossword Games, Visitors’ page featuring Top 20 Countries – daily revision, NEW Preview App featuring Games, Vintage crosswords and Archive selections –  Enjoy, and spread the Word! – Visits to this site number 44,836 Thank you all, for your patronage.


Edmund Akenhead, former longest serving full time Crossword Editor of The Times 1965-1983, and 30 years a contributor (5 years under Jane Carton 1960-1965, 7 years under John Grant 1983-1990), this very quiet man in his heyday a man of many parts, pilot, glider pilot, magician (huge hit at children’s parties!), card-player, card trickster, prestidigitator, sword-swallower, sword-balancer, fire-eater, kite-flyer and adjuster, gambler (particularly the turf – too good for some bookies who eventually banned him!), codebreaker, cruciverbalist, wit, raconteur, prolific writer of pantomimes for the Dar es Salaam Players, crossword Editor to The Tanganyika Standard (later East African Standard) – 1946-1961, contributor to the Mombasa Times and The Times of India, inventor of The Times Jumbo crossword, instigator of the annual Times crossword championships and mastermind behind the 60s BBC 2 show, Crossword on Two, hosted by Frank Muir and Patrick Campbell.

On this website witness titles from his son’s exclusive Crossword Digital Library, compiled by him voluntarily and updated regularly 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 Edmund in 1969. The entire archive today comprises over 13,000 digital crosswords from The Times, and The Sunday Times up to the present day, including some early gems.

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’! DA

The crosswords currently available on this website have been commissioned to include digital crossword book publications for The Times and The Sunday Times prior to October 2000 and earlier extracted crosswords 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 such as Margaret Webb’s two inaugural Penguin publications celebrating her Times Concise crosswords, my own enterprise for Times Books as editor of The Times and Sunday Times Omnibus series for John Grant and Barbara Hall respectively, and finally mine and Richard Browne’s pride and joy, 75 Years of The Times Crossword (see article) under special licence from Times Newspapers Limited.

Our wonderful provenance would not be complete without mention of two stalwarts in particular: Wadham Sutton, who joined my father’s team in 1974, and according to Owen Jones and Ben Whitelaw by March 2014 had already clocked up 1414 Times Crosswords let alone 79 Jumbos and I gather is still going strong featured, as he is, in the 18th Book of Times Jumbo crosswords, and then too, equally unforgettably, remarkable, and sadly departed, Joyce Cansfield, who will be dearly missed, joining the team as she did with her very first effort, in 1981 and concluding with her 1265th in 2011! Somewhat appropriately too, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of The Times Crossword on 1st February 2010, hers was the puzzle that appeared in The Times that day – et in memoriam suam.


Very best wishes – David Akenhead, author of the Times 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

“O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention” William Shakespeare, 1599

“Come in I’ll give ya shelter, shelter from the storm” Bob Dylan, 17th September 1974

On the introduction of the The Times crossword on 1st February 1930, Mrs Blanche Hulton of Olney, Bucks, wrote: “These clever puzzles are an enjoyment second only to the best programmes of the BBC”

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

“More to the point, I’d developed a thirty-five-year addiction to the Times crossword puzzle” Rupert Murdoch from Two Years in St Andrews 1983 by George Peper, former Editor-in-chief, Golf Magazine 

“Akenhead, Grant and Greer, the three amigos – what a wonderful legacy for a truly wonderful crossword” David Akenhead, 11th December 2019 

“Prometheus bound, by the eagle, or unbound by Hercules” as a clue for “Delivered” Edmund Akenhead, 4th March 1972

“It should be able to catch a London marathon runner” as a clue for “Mousetrap” John Grant, 1st January 1993 

“The most important thing I have learnt from this unique annual event is that everyone in it is different and only by participating can one really discover the best way to complete it!” David Akenhead, a veteran St. Joseph’s Hospice supporter (and runner). Article entitled The London Marathon ‒ interview by Ralph Long, Editor, Hospice Newsletter, Autumn 2006

“Assist in regular opening of windows on every day at morning and evening availing yourselves of every ray of sunshine East and West regularly” Mary Aikenhead, Dublin, 4th February 1816 after approval of her new Order, The Sisters of Charity, by Pope Pius VII, subsequent to an audience with His Holiness on 30th November 1815. 

“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.”

John Keats (Endymion) 1818

“He could, perhaps, have pass’d the Hellespont, As once (a feat on which ourselves we prided) Leander, Mr. Ekenhead, and I did.” George Lord Byron, 1819 (Don Juan cv.)

In memoriam: Robert Akenhead, Burgess Guild brother and appointed Freeman and Keys of the City of Glasgow, in the presence of Wallace Cochran, Lord Provost of Glasgow, for his services to the good people of Glasgow, at Glasgow, 1st January 1750. Printer, Bookbinder and founder of The Newcastle Mercury, one of the earliest broadsheets, at his premises on Old Tyne Bridge (antediluvium) on 10th July 1722. Died 7th January 1773 aged 84 years. Buried at St Mary’s Church, Gateshead.

Alice Akenhead, George Medal – Nurse, Western Front, The Somme, St. John’s Ambulance No. 161901, 1914, 1915, 1916 leaving battlefield after Flers-Courcelette to tend wounded brother, Captain David Akenhead, 6th Lincolnshire Regt, and others back in Lincoln, England. To whom must be added her other brother, my grandfather, Captain Francis Akenhead. Both he and David fought in Gallipoli, David at Suva Bay, and grandfather in the 5th Manchesters, alongside the ANZACs, French and Newfoundlanders at Krithia Vineyard. May they all rest in peace.

Flight Lieutenant (gazetted 14th Feb 1941) Richard Nigel ‘Ape’ Cullen (my uncle) DFC and Bar, RAF no. 39967, born 5th June 1917 Newcastle, New South Wales, lived in Putney UK, died in battle alongside ‘Pat’ Pattle DFC and Bar (South African ace extraordinary who survived until Piraeus) and squadron as Royal Navy escorts, crashing into a mountain in his Hurricane (V7288) in Albania north of Corfu near Himare mid afternoon 4th March 1941. God rest his soul. Australian Air Ace supreme. For ever remembered with great affection as one of the still Forgotten Few, as is my dear, recently departed mother, Captain Angela Akenhead, ATS Ambulance driver and Richard’s sister, who selflessly and quietly with her friend Stella Cody helped in the West End after night bombing raids during the Blitz.

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, Monday, 6th July 2020

The Times crossword 90th Anniversary Competitions

1st February 2020 marked 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. We have endeavoured to produce something to honour the occasion.

The challenge of producing a crossword to rival Brian Greer’s earlier magnificent effort in commemorating The Times crossword’s Diamond Jubilee in February 1990, proved too much, I fear, for mere mortals, thereby reinforcing his own individual immortality therein! However, a joint effort on behalf of three valiant musketeers, Luciano Ward of the USA, Rob Kingston of the UK, Sam Buttrey of the USA and yours truly, managed to come up with something which did not disgrace, and to each was awarded the choice of the prize offered or a free subscription to my digital crossword archive.

Luciano, for his lovely COLONOSCOPY clue and its cleverly disguised build-up: Medical procedure: “bone clone” (11)

Rob, for his quirky clue for DAR ES SALAAM with Madagascar just down the road!: Armada sails around seals playing in East African port (3,2,6)

Sam Buttrey for his beautifully disguised (and realized!) Spoonerism for TEST BAN: Bikini work stopped after best tan realized (4,3)

Congratulations! to one and all!

The Crossword Challenges which I instituted as part of the 90th Anniversary Celebrations are withdrawn from today, in the light of recent developments.

Sincerely, David Akenhead

28th May, 2020

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