Editorial by David Akenhead, CEO Akenhead crosswords

Thursday, July 25th. Time for a reality check after the attempted assassination of Donald Trump, provoked or otherwise, and for Wall Street to adhere to its credo, going forwards: All men and women created equal under God without grace or favour and America must take the lead if Wall Street is to retain its credibility too. Has Donald Trump had his Road to Damascus moment with his near death experience in nominating J.D. Vance as his choice for VP as one who once diametrically opposed him?

It would seem so. And if Trump can make a wise adjustment in hindsight to unite America, so can Vance over Ukraine despite his correct recent condemnation of her leader for dividing the country as well as the military. Ukraine must go to the peace table in a position of strength not weakness with all Nato members playing their part to ensure the same. Ditto on the home front in both Canada stepping up to the plate and the USA where national security has overnight become key with severe penalties for breaches from top to bottom needed, both countries exhibiting gaping holes in their buckets as I write! if we are to ensure the wisdom of the late beloved, Dame Vera Lynn from World War 2 in the following:

The shepherd will tend his sheep The valley will bloom again And Jimmy will go to sleep In his own little room again There’ll be blue birds over The white cliffs of Dover Tomorrow Just you wait and see

So, to Trudeau and all the so-called Liberals in Canada, get your acts together so that all your buckets can hold water, as Trump and Vance are advocating or ignore the wisdom of their newfound enlightenment at your peril. In Unity lies Strength, and Canada is anything but united at present, neither are their finance ministers presently, exhibiting questionable accountability, lost as they are in fairytale dream worlds of yesteryear. My sympathies with the Governor of the Bank of Canada today poor man, announcing his rate cut! His body language seemed far from optimistic that the alleged trend would materialise justifying gradual reduction! though maybe he’s already investing hard-earned taxpayers’ money in the UK as a backup plan. I know many are as I speak! Some investors love waves, it seems!

Elon Musk and I, although he supports the HCFs in society, and I the LCMs, both recognise as techies, that we need each other if the free market economy is to survive and prosper, and we must adjust accordingly as J.D. Vance will when he has earned his reins from an older and wiser Donald Trump! He’s a hard one to figure these days! Genius or bonkers? Fine line, I’d say though my gut tells me he remains a bit of both!

In support of which your memory never diminished either. Vivat! Vivat! Regina! We sorely miss you, another World stabiliser!

So sorry about King Charles’s illness, with admiration for his courage and fortitude in handling it, extended to his younger son, Prince Harry, for his recent support and devotion to his father. I have nothing but admiration for his wonderful initiatives for Invictus. I also have admiration for Prince Andrew and his family and the Princess Royal. People who serve their country and their monarch have my admiration, as does the Princess of Wales at this challenging time for herself and her family. Prince William too has my sympathies.

I believe in loyalty, and my first loyalty lies with Lachlan Murdoch and The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun, who like me does NOT believe in autocratic and unsanctioned legislation in trade disputes – Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland for Canada take note. Markets do not like their boat rocked. It does not inspire investment. A stable currency is a paramount requirement for free trade where people have a choice or should and rotten eggs can be resisted without recourse to Federal legislation.

To my readership: if you want both value for your money, and an organisation still able to uphold traditional values of quality and service, look no further. Our products will not disappoint, and for no extra charge you will have the added advantage regardless of currency fluctuations, of embracing AI too, strictly regulated in the cause of promoting superb crossword products, or any other products we may embark on.

I’m in the business of supplying my loyal global following with enjoyment from the rich crossword legacy to which I have become the sole living guardian.

My weekly/monthly crossword competitions courtesy of Linked-in, Facebook and Instagram are increasingly popular, promoting digital crossword works from either The Times or Sunday Times during the first 75 crossword years of each newspaper within the limits of a crossword grid of whatever size or type, a recent welcome spur to these aspirations being courtesy of Microsoft and AI applications.

Winners of crossword competitions will receive a lifetime’s subscription to my digital crossword products with any enhancements gratis in the interim. 

With the leading service provider in the USA, the best domain platform on the market and impeccable references from Harper Collins, VIP status at The Times and a licence for my digital crossword software for life, and formidable provenances for the goods in my care, your privacy and protection are assured along with the high standards demanded by News Corp and News UK.

Let it be known that I am the first to sing the praises of books old as well as new, and crossword books in particular in line with my passion, as is witness to my extensive archive.

On 26th April 2023 Book Depository announced they were closing, a living example of a worthy venture going to the wall, unable or unwilling to embrace the new technology.

I’ve never let down either the Firm or our Publishers, and the correspondence below speaks for itself. I also recommend as its sole extant Times crossword guardian, that the Times Archive including its crosswords is brought up to date including the missing years between January 1986 and October 2000.

Thankfully, I have a learned younger brother supporting me, his school motto from Rugby, Orando Laborando, liberally translated: (your prayer answered through work), reflecting mine from Dover College, Non Recuso Laborem, (no rest from work).   

On that happy note, I draw comfort from one of my most precious possessions, The French Revolution (2 volumes) by the distinguished historian, H. Morse Stephens, Balliol College Oxford 1891, where he recounts in volume 2, King Louis’s actual demise at the celebrated Place where there was indeed a scaffold, attended by Sanson, his loyal executioner! but the myth begins there, the truth seemingly, conflicting with the gruesome sanitised glorious version handed down! curiously some of the modern persuasion seem to dismiss their elders, and occasionally betters these days. Yet here are Stephens’s own words, judge for yourselves.

“But there was no effort made, and Louis found it necessary to mount the scaffold, from which he attempted to say a few words to the people. The drums were at once beaten, and while they rolled, Sanson the executioner seized upon the king, and at twenty minutes past ten Louis XVI was offered up as a sacrifice to the Revolution.”

Such enlightenment that, even at the last, like our own Charles I, Louis XVI was permitted to exercise his Divine Right of Kings and spared Lucy Worsley’s dreaded mythical machine, (sorry Lucy, but you are plain wrong on this one), which was nowhere to be seen! His fate, was like Anne Boleyn’s, accomplished by a master swordsman, again a Frenchman, Sanson at the Place, minus machine and with breathtaking alacrity!

King Charles’ demise, by contrast turned initial mockery to silent respect for his bravery and wit, adjusting his beard, before the gruesome expert’s axe that ended his life commanding his own end signalled to his executioner for the axe to fall at his bidding, resulting in his immediate decapitation by another master craftsman (Richard Brandon, an Englishman this time), and heralding Oliver Cromwell’s downfall in a trice before its hushed and appalled witnesses in the spectacle and aftermath.

Proof, if any were needed, that old retainers like me are still backbone medicine, worth retaining, and worth the candle! I am not, Mr Murdoch, as my kind friend, Alastair Brett, once remarked to me, ‘like Guy Fawkes in your back yard!’ Far from it, I have great respect for my most impassioned advocate of The Times crossword, which passion I share! I will continue to serve you and my readers, if permitted so to do, in a manner becoming to them all, and hopefully in a continued spirit of goodwill to your own vested interests, with a delightful blend of old with new.

The correspondence below and above speaks reams for myself, my father and Barbara Hall MBE former Sunday Times Crossword Editor, deceased.

Below an illustration of the free publicity I used to receive in all Times Books crossword publications in gratitude for my proof editing services.

Since March 28th last year (under my renewed contract with Times Newspapers Limited) our viewing figures below tell their own story. These are still superb British crosswords and something to be rightly proud of.

Our following today spanning 195 countries stands at 330,422 with 2 employees, double TOL with 500 times more people, I’m sitting here doing all this work gratis on The Times crossword archive, and several other Times and Sunday Times crossword publications, and there’s Instagram being run by 15 billionaires and The Times still can’t recognise their limited books market compared with the potential of our added global reach with my digital alternatives, still knocking on the door for admission? Brings to mind: C.E. Holt’s ‘Our Ernie – Mrs Entwhistle’s Little Lad’, the finest comic strip ever created (Knock-out 1939), always ended with grandad saying, ‘Daft, I call it‘. Well, I echo grandad on this one! – DA

AI too is finally being put to good use too at TOL with a recent halving of their workforce to compensate even if per capita I’ve still already colonised Mars and returned to Terra nostra! – DA

Times given quite enough warning in advance, my shout echoes! (3,7) (FOR E)+X+AMPLE

I share the philanthropy of Phil Bloomberg! Médecins Sans Frontières both of us! We have no time for terror merchants either or vengeful types, but we have all the time in our delicate world for those who try to encourage peace and harmony in our terror and greed-stricken world with actual positive progress towards that goal. We have the tools to do it with AI, if the blind will permit us!

We owe it to those who fought and died for us as witnessed by my own family contributions below in the Great War and since.

LEST WE FORGET – WE WILL REMEMBER THEM – MY FAMILY AMONG COUNTLESS OTHERS

What a day for my family! Alice went on to supervise an army hospital for the 6th Lincolnshires in the grounds of Lincoln Cathedral in the vicarage adjoining and the home of my great grandfather, Laird Edmund Akenhead, rural Dean of Lincoln and his wife, Lucy Collingwood Taylor Corbett. Lovely, brave Alice, quiet and modest like her younger brother, David, and a super water colour painter too both upholding the best traditions of nursing on fields of battle, only qualification being at Flers Courcelette, 15th September 1916, appalling casualties on both sides emulating Beaumont Hamel and July 1st all over again.

Meanwhile the other Manchesters (the 42nds) along with my grandfather, Francis, had been recuperating in Alexandria after abandoning the Heights of  Krithia along with the Newfies and ANZACS all sustaining severe losses but after briefest recuperation soon re-engaged defending the Suez Canal against the Ottoman empire then sent to Belgium in early 1917, all again to the toughest places from the beginning to end, when they were finally demobilised just before Christmas 1918, my grandfather being at Charleroi, by now as Captain Francis Akenhead, now lame, whither he had gone, so almost invariably had the Newfoundlanders and ANZACS and their war record together is quite incredible.

I have it all, and the list of battles runs to half a page, starting with Krithia Vineyard In Gallipoli where the Newfies largely had to chance their luck as messengers between the various groups in the Heights of Krithia and High Command below, and ending with the final encounter at The Battle of the Selle! and for the few that lived to tell the tale, it was one of unsurpassed valour and instinct for survival! Let’s put the fairy stories to rest, please, war is brutal and ugly, regardless of which side you are on, as good Ukrainians and Russians are presently experiencing, saved only presently by their dignity and love of neighbour, hope for a better world for their children, and little else. Their leaders have let them down since Gorbachev, plain and simple.

My Salute to the fallen:

David Akenhead, teacher, journalist and eldest son of his late father Edmund Akenhead, head of Clan Aikenhead, Sept of Gordon and through his grandmother Myrtle MacGregor and great grandmother, Helen Grant, Sept of Gordon MacGregor former surgeons to the Hanoverians and loyal servants to Royal Stewart. Arms of Akenhead gifted and restored by Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, via amnesty Culloden QV & QE 31st October 1989. Duly assigned 12th December 1989.

Below find:

My father’s memorable contribution in 1984, (published 1st January 1985) for the memorial illustrated tribute The Times Past – Present – Future  to celebrate the Bi-Centenary of The Times ( Akenhead Articleand a copy of the First Edition under the name of The Daily Universal Register of 1st January 1785 (beneath) complete with a clue of mine to fit another 1 across! preceded some 60 odd Years earlier by my ancestor, Robert Akenhead’s Newcastle Mercury which he founded with his printing presses on The Olde Tyne Bridge, in Newcastle on July 10th, 1722. The Newcastle Mercury was one of the earliest broadsheets of its kind. And on this same memorable day in 2023, his descendant proudly celebrated over 200,300 loyal followers globally on this cloud website since its very recent inception! That figure has now risen to 330,422 a year later.

My prime mandate on this website remains that of upholding, and indeed expanding my role as guardian of The Times crossword archive, a voluntary role which I am devoted to, and am at present expanding with The Times crosswords published between 1930 and 1985 including the Second World War, hitherto largely untouched and a thoroughly intriguing exercise it is proving! In addition, introduced is a new feature entitled the Akenhead Years, gradually retracing the history of the Times crossword during my father’s eventful stewardship with his small team and myself (our styles at variance!) to the final record of the Times crossword from the existing Times archive culminating in December 1985. I would like that archive extended to the present day, please, Mr Murdochs twain.

My daughter Charlotte did this delightful impromptu aria earlier from Handel’s Rinaldo, Lascia ch’io pianga.

Plus her earlier riveting solo, Ave Maria:

Kind regards, David Akenhead, former Crossword Consultant to The Times and inventor of The Times, The Sunday Times, and The Sun Computer Crosswords and Games

25th July, 2024

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