“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

“To be, or not to be, — that is the question:  — Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?” William Shakespeare, 1603

“A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.” Alexander Pope An Essay on Criticism (1711)

“All gone to look for America” Paul Simon, inspired September 1964 and today’s Big Question!

“It’s hard when you’re standing in the shadows of a very famous man” Hank Williams Junior, 1966

“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, St Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney 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, Foundress of her Order, The Sisters of Charity, Dublin, 4th February 1816.

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.

Lest we Forget in addition to the afore-mentioned: The Forgotten Few from World War I and World War II including my grandfather, Francis and great uncle David (medic) (Captains both Gallipoli and Somme), great Aunt Alice GM, Nurse, St John’s Ambulance, Somme and Western Front 1914-1916, uncle, Australian born, Flight Lieutenant Richard Nigel Cullen, RAF, DFC and Bar, and his great friend, South African born, Squadron Leader Pat Pattle, RAF, DFC and Bar, father Edmund (Scot, Pilot), PO RAF and AAC Lieutenant Colonel TD, Australian born mother Angela, Captain ATS (Army Ambulance, London) – DA.

David Akenhead, CEO Akenhead crosswords, 9th August, 2022

Our Views reached 100,000 on Thursday February 17th 2022

Our thoughts today are with the peace-loving peoples of Ukraine who it seems are facing tyranny along with many equally good Russian people. We are twinned in Glasgow with Rostov-on-Don and in Edinburgh with Kiev.


STOP PRESS! NEW working cryptic crossword with credits for the public at large for correct solution and analysis on both Facebook and Linked-In of the digital titles I own within my remit and Edmund Akenhead’s work too – now a weekly event.

Subsriptions are to be scrapped in their entirety once our new e-commerce sub-domain akenheadcrosswords.com enables limited acquisition of our digital products from our new gallery. It is hope the launch with be on 1st August. Existing subscribers will be compensated with one FREE item of their choice, excluding multiples and reserved titles.

1. Annual $US $2 Subscription with a recommendation to increase to a maximum of $US 10

Witness in particular samples of the following from my Crossword Archive :

‒ Edmund Akenhead’s remarkable Times Jumbo Crossword Books 1 and 2, from his own innovation, the 27×27 Times Jumbo Cryptic Crosswords, entirely his own work, bar one crossword from yours truly, his Times Crossword Books 1 to 7, his Times 50th Anniversary Crosswords and his earlier Classic East African Crosswords from The East African Standard2 Volumes.

‒ 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 from their earlier appearance in The Times followed by her Concise Crossword Books 3 to 6 published by Times Books.

‒ John Grant’s, The Times Crosswords Omnibus Books 1 & 2, with 120 Puzzles in each, published in 1995 and 1996 in turn, under my editorship and programme for Times Books, and his Times Crossword Books 8 to 19.

‒ Elizabeth and Derek Jewell’s Sunday Times Crossword Books 1 to 8. My Sunday Times Crosswords Omnibus Book 1 for Times Books courtesy of the pen of the late Barbara Hall MBE, and hopefully all her Sunday Times publicationsRIP

‒ Brian Greer’s, challenging The Times Crossword Masterclass with some archive access from the Akenhead and Grant Archive, The Times Crossword 2000, The Times Jumbo Crosswords Book 3 (which I proof edited for Times Books), and his Times Crossword Books 20 & 21 (original editions pre 2000), plus The Times Cryptic Crossword Book 1.

‒ Mike Laws and I produced The Times Jumbo Cryptic Crossword Books 4, 5 and 6 which he and I produced through Times Books, launching the first of the Everest trilogy in Book 6 and all in the original 27×27 format. He also produced The Times Cryptic Crossword Books 2 to 5 in which I assisted as his proofs Editor. Sadly missed – see Obituary under Times Crossword.

‒ Finally, 75 Years of The Times Crossword, put together in 2005 by myself and Richard Browne, newly appointed Crossword Editor of The Times, with a timely Foreword by Colin Dexter to celebrate a futher milestone. He is also credited with his earlier Times Two crossword books.

Visits to this site number 127,242. Thank you all, for your patronage – David Akenhead


Edmund Akenhead, former longest serving full time Crossword Editor of The Times 1965-1983, and yet more years as a contributor, this quiet man of many parts (including the Territorial Decoration for distinguished wartime service, in the footsteps of his aunt, Alice Akenhead GM in the Great War for equally distinguished service as a nurse), made manifest in numerous articles in The Times and introductions to his large CV of crossword books and those of other editors and associates, crossword Editor to The Tanganyika Standard (later The East African Standard) – 1953-1965, (with his own designed Grids, particularly his immortal E for Edmund Grid), contributor to the Mombasa Times and The Times of India, inventor of The Times Jumbo crossword, instigator of the annual Times crossword championships and master contributor behind the late 60s BBC 2 show, Crossword on Two, conceived by Frank Muir as Head of Light Entertainment at the BBC, pitting himself and his team against Patrick Campbell and his, and hosted by Ned Sherrin, marking a significant first, for The Times crossword.

On the Preview App from 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 Times 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 Omnibus series for John Grant 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. I had the privilege too of working as proofer with Richard on behalf of Times Books in his earlier capacity as Times2 Crossword Editor and his many innovations for The Times Concise Crosswords including a host of new grids, many featured in my new Times 1000 Concise Crossword Games. Thank you, Richard!

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 (above)

The Times 90th Anniversary Crossword

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 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, was eventually met along with solo contributions from three valiant musketeers, Luciano Ward of the USA (and Scotland), Rob Kingston of the UK, and Sam Buttrey of the USA, the remaining 205 clues and solutions provided by yours truly.

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

Rob Kingston, 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)

On 1st February 2021, one year later, it was suggested to me that I might like to submit my own clues (which I hope pass muster) as replacements to the three splendid, 2020 competition entries above, effectively answering the original 45 x 45 challenge mounted on 1st February 1990 by Brian Greer on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of The Times crossword. 45 X 45 brings the mammoth back to life again with the 90th, my own 208 clue entry being the eventual result!

Sincerely, David Akenhead

12th July, 2022

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