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


STOP PRESS! Margaret Webb’s classic compilations of The First and Second Books of The Times Concise Crossword Puzzles from 1988 and 1989 respectively with 240 Puzzles in each are now available in the Archive.

House competition restored with BRAND NEW interactive facility – (90th Anniversary – above) – this is a FREE entry item running concurrently with the main competition (details below). From today, I am offering a Special Bonus Prize of £100 for the best clue submitted for clues I have not already addressed. If, your clue is accepted, your name and country of origin will appear alongside it, unless you convey instruction for Anonymous to appear instead. Clues with no signature are House clues. The winner of the Bonus Prize will be announced on 1st February 2020, alongside the winners of the main competition.

– Visitors’ Page: this experiment has proved a very interesting gauge of interest from near and far for the current month. It is being restricted now to countries alone since the volume of interest has increased dramatically of late!

–  Revised Crossword Competition: a 45 x 45 is all we now require! Prize money, presently, £2000 for a £5 fee (or equivalent) – see below.

– Now that my website reveals over 18,800 separate viewers, I have managed to prove that this facility is international, desired and unique in its facilities thanks to the efforts of just two mathematicians, myself and Sunil Kumar Mutaka in India. To that end, I am effectively continuing the PR service I enjoyed for many years at both newspapers and The Sun, until pirates rendered my earlier products, though highly successful, redundant. Here on my NEW cloud and with rigid adherence to security, your safety and privacy are paramount. I reiterate: these products are available nowhere else but here.

– Thank you Times Newspapers Limited for continuing to support both me and my ventures (and my faithful programmer, Sunil, in India).

– Security improvements: I have decided, in view of recent developments in the news in general, to suspend both Facebook and Twitter feeds to this site and have instituted two new internal emails: for all future general correspondence regarding this website. for crossword-specific data.

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, the original compiled by Adrian Bell and published in The Times, on Saturday 1st February 1930. N.B. To reveal entire grid, reduce Zoom facility from standard 100% to 67% (three vertical dots top right).

Here at Akenhead crosswords we would like once again to thank David Parfitt, Times Puzzles editor at TOL for a welcome mention in his weekly bulletin (and the current crossword crew, some of whom I know well).

The Jumbo Games, now available in our brand new format covering 5 months, along with The Times and Sunday Times concise crossword games, will remain a FREE attraction for anyone to enjoy. They number 100 in total. In addition, we offer 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 in an effort to open up these priceless crosswords to the world. The Concise Crossword Games now number 40.

NEW FACILITIES – Help and No Help – I have introduced these two innovations to encourage a wider appreciation of the crosswords themselves, reflecting both a crib version, designed to spur the grey matter and a digital book equivalent! On which note, 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 Top Visitors – month on month daily revision –  Enjoy, and spread the Word! – Visits to this site number 18,879 – 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, and contributor under Jane Carton from 1960 until he died just before Christmas 1990), 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 13,000 digital crosswords from The Times, and The Sunday Times newspapers right 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’!

Keep the comments coming in! I like to think that no challenge is too great to do justice to our wonderful provenance, which 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 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. RIP.

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 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. N.B. Other publications in my archive are marked with an R – reserved, and only their provenance is visible. The crosswords themselves are unavailable for use.


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

“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

“We must try to be truly humble – not in words but in the very core of the heart” Mary Aikenhead, Dublin, 16th November 1815

“Ye’ll try the world soon, my lad, And, Andrew dear, believe me, Ye’ll find mankind an unco squad, And muckle they may grieve ye: For care and trouble set your thought, Ev’n when your end’s attained; And a’ your views may come to nought, Where ev’ry nerve is strained” Epistle to a Young friend (Andrew Aiken), Robert Burns, May 1786

“He could, perhaps, have pass’d the Hellespont, As once (a feat on which ourselves we prided) Leander, Mr. Ekenhead, and I did” Don Juan, George Lord Byron, 15th July 1819″

“The most important thing I have learnt from this annual event is that everyone 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) Editorial by Ralph Long on The London Marathon – Autumn 2006, Issue 32 St. Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney Newsletter.


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 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. 

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.

Pilot Officer Richard Nigel Cullen DFC and Bar (my uncle) “At once a lone G.50 bis attacked Pattle and his No 2 – on this occasion, Flying Officer Cullen – but Pattle promptly shot this down and watched it spiral into a mountainside just north of Himare. At this moment a second Fiat ‘jumped’ Cullen (Hurricane V7288) and he was not seen again. His aircraft crashed near Himare, and the Australian ‘ace’ was killed” London Gazette, (revised) 9th December 2005 

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 – 21st November 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 45×45 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, also your country which will be duly acknowledged, as well as just your ZIP/Post Code in the final box. All subscribers are eligible to take part in the competition.Those who do may feel the need to add more detail in the address box – entirely their choice. However, those who do not, will still be acknowledged when the eventual winners are announced. This process, courtesy of Pay Pal is fully tested and functional, and your security is assured by them. So, tell your friends, and join in the fun with our historical challenge today!

The competition 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 (but not necessarily his design), or using the grid reference formula suggested in my new article for beginners, is all we require. No computer knowledge is necessary.

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

Hits: 9548