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 – New article on COVID-19: Latest updates!

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STOP PRESS! Over 37,000 Views to date!

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DASHBOARD – New Feature – This area will highlight all our latest advances numbered below:

1. We battle on, in spite of the contraints on all of us. India in lockdown, business suspended for now, along with our projections for the new Apps. I will do what I can this end in the meantime. Courage mes frères et soeurs!

2. Further to the above, we will be offering a free trial so that you are absolutely satisfied with our NEW products before committing yourselves –  together with the temporary Albums, hopefully making them irresistible as well! In addition, from today I shall be adding my crossword games regularly to our popular present FREE Games category – 5 of each of The Times and Sunday Times Concise, and The Times and Sunday Times Cryptic crossword games range. So that’s 20 of the cryptics for now and 60 of the concise, and in the next few days, I’m going to bring that 20 up to match the concise on 60, then if you still have a few bob on you, you can always subscribe to my Archive where you wil find a further 100 Jumbos waiting for you! Enjoy them while you can, I say, in this Brave New World!!

3. From 1st March 2020, the annual subscription fee to the Crossword Archive was reduced to $US10 and some formerly Free Items transferred to that category. I have ensured that our standards are the highest demanded. Thank you – David Akenhead

4. I have designed new Times and Sunday Times crossword Games, extracted from crosswords under the editorships of Brian Greer, Mike Laws, and Barbara Hall. The first five of each of the new series has been added to the FREE Games repertoire.

5. Included above in the FREE section 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 FREE wonderful Times Diamond Jubilee crossword which was my inspiration for my own 90th Anniversary effort this year.

6. My NEW combined Crossword Challenge for both Times and Sunday Times crossword aficionados desirous of a FREE Subscription to the Archive: click on Challenge (under FREE Items) or Sunday Times Crossword (appended) and follow the instructions. See further details below.

7. 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.

8. Our WordPress platform permits me swiftly to blend the earliest Times and Sunday Times crosswords with my system, as well as enhancing my products with useful gems from The Times Archive affording me a wonderful insight into the workings of The Thunderer between 1785 and 1985 and enabling me to delve into David Parfitt’s intriguing recent question about the true identity of the Provost of Eton! See my article under The Times crossword.

Further recent advances: 

 ‒ I have converted this website to its new Subscription Format for my Digital Crosswords Archive. We hope as many of you who appreciate our service, will find adequate reward in the new annual US$10 levy. Simply click on Subscribe (above) to enrol (and continue with your pursuits unabated!). Good to see people enjoying what is generally regarded as a valuable and unique crossword collection.

So for those who have already taken out a subscription, the addition of the accumulating new vintage crossword albums as well as the newly added Jumbo Crossword Games will be an ongoing bonus for them as the year progresses, although it must be said, the price is already extremely generous. Like Wikipedia, we are a fountain of scarce knowledge which deserves to be respected and enjoyed.

‒ Brand NEW feature! My enhanced combined Crossword Challenge (above) enabling crossword buffs worldwide to vie for the successful completion of a classic Times crossword or conversely pit your wits in solving a vintage Sunday Times crossword. Simply follow the instructions and email me your efforts. I’ll do the rest! It is to be hoped that this latest innovation will whet your appetites for a free subscription or better still, help you experience the wonderful bounty of extremely rare crosswords which lie within!

Over 37,100 VISITS TO DATE! We at Akenhead Crosswords would like to mention a few notable gems from the Archive:

‒ 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. 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 series. Brian Greer’s The Times Crossword Masterclass (which he delved from the Archive) and his The Times Crossword 2000. Then there’s Edmund Akenhead’s earlier Classic East African Crossword collections. Finally, 75 Years of The Times Crossword, put together to celebrate that occasion by myself and Richard Browne with a timely Foreword by Colin Dexter.

‒ Visitors’ Page: this experiment has proved a very interesting gauge of interest from near and far for the current month, current day, and hour on hour, compared as they are against the viewers’ countries (presently numbering 134) who have visited us in the course of the last 10 months. Interesting to witness the expanding global appeal of the digital crosswords.

 ‒ The Jumbo Games, 100 available in our brand new format covering 5 months are now part of the NEW Subscription package. 50 of The Times and Sunday Times concise crossword games from the pens of former crossword editors, Margaret Webb, for The Times and my dear friend, Barbara Hall, for The Sunday Times, are all back under FREE ITEMS (above). In addition and just released, to compensate for the removal of the Jumbo Games to Subscribe, I have added our NEW range of Times and Sunday Times Crossword Games (5 of each monthly), courtesy of former editors, Brian Greer, Mike Laws and Barbara Hall. I like to use these games as a platform for innovation! (See revised About section).

‒ 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. My thoughts are with him, his wife and child at this very trying time.

‒ 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 emails:

jumbos@crosswordsakenhead.com for all general correspondence regarding this website.

davidakenhead8@gmail.com 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. 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.

NEW FACILITIES – Help and No Help – I have introduced these two developments 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!

To summarise, current features include: Articles, Crossword History (newly revised), The Times crossword Diamond Jubilee Puzzle, The Times crossword 90th Anniversary puzzle, FREE Items, including sample crosswords from the archive, FREE Games and our brand NEW ongoing Crossword Challenges, with a free subscription for successful applicants, plus Top Visitors – monthly and daily revision –  Enjoy, and spread the Word! – Visits to this site number 37,125 Thank you all, for your patronage, and keep your spirits up.



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), magician, codebreaker, cruciverbalist, wit, writer, 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 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.

“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.

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, 30th March 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!

Sincerely, David Akenhead

1st February, 2020

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