About the Digital Crosswords on my new website

Inspired by the movie The Theory of Everything starring Eddie Redmayne as the late, great, Professor Stephen Hawking, I took it upon myself to see if I could attempt to simulate the parallel universes he alluded to, with that classic moment, on realising that what was planned took a different course, when the girl dropped her pencil on the floor! It occurred to me that the arena that is a crossword is no different. It is a device which can be completed, dependent upon the different skill, technique and approach of every individual and in the spirit of Professor Hawking’s observation, you are enabled to attempt the task as you choose!

Put simply, I have created my own Einstein’s ball, and I invite you, the user, to approach that ball from any angle you see fit. Gone are the days of saving your work on your own system rendering it vulnerable to outside interference or printing out your work and endangering our own planet’s delicate eco system in the process. Here, by contrast, we offer you your own comfortable domain in cyberspace, with ne’er a care in the world! Here, I hope my creations will afford you hours of gentle mental enjoyment and relaxation, and if pressures or commitments require you to leave and return at a later date, I have devised a totally flexible and efficient method to enable you to continue where you left off from your last visit, in our impregnable flying fortress! Feedback is always welcome. My email address is at the foot of this Page.

I suppose we are in a position now to do for Crosswords what Gary Kasparov did for Chess, get beaten by Deep Blue! But that would give the robots the edge and in the case of humans and particularly crossword solvers, heaven forbid! At this point it is convenient for me to refer you to the Article below, which was an editorial printed on Page 21 of Amstrad Action Magazine for their September issue in 1989 where I reveal that my inspiration for the computer crosswords, and in this case, my fifth volume of Sun Computer crosswords, came from watching Arthur C. Clarke’s 2010 follow-up to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 a Space Odyssey where Hal the robot rules! – and the moral to that tale is that there has to be a vanishing point, even for robots! da Vinci was of like mind, it seems! Incidentally, hopefully in reply to the critic’s one downside to my original creation, price, that reservation I have now addressed – spread the word! Check out too our Newsgroup at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/rec.puzzles.crosswords where I am a regular contributor to their crossword competitions, as well as originator of two of them.

So, to give us the edge against the impending robot brigade now afflicting planet Earth, I revert, with my new digital crossword games of which my 50th for both The Times and Sunday Times crosswords appears today, to my latest touch friendly model, which in Help Format conveniently cheats by printing a solution in black if you get it right clue by clue, against the No Help format which waits until you have completed the entire challenge before revealing your success or otherwise, and we’ve even built in an ability for you to return your letter to stack, which will automatically augment its count again or if you prefer you can move it elsewhere on the grid, to save you time, that great commodity in crosswords which we buffs conveniently describe as the enemy!  Enjoy us while you have us, is the message and this plea to a young man in India, for him to keep up the good work, from an old septuagenarian, (myself) who not too long hence will have to start thinking of handing over his reins, hopefully for posterity, but in the meantime for us both to keep on truckin’! Your pleasure is ours as well! Sic itur ad astra!

I’d like to dedicate this work to Professor Hawking, Albert Einstein, and Srinivasa Ramanujan, as well as to my late father, Edmund Akenhead, who was Crossword Editor of The Times for many years, and inventor of The Times Jumbo crossword.

David Akenhead 1st December 2019

Designer and Author of The Times Computer Crossword, and with Sunil Kumar Mutaka all the digital applications on this website.



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