Memorable Quotes (beneath)

Akenhead Family Crest: Rupto Robore Nati trans. We Are Born from a Split Oak

Akenhead Family Saying (Ancient Proverb):

Great Oaks From Little Acorns Grow

Lest we forget

The Great War 1914-1918

Francis Akenhead, born 9th June 1881, rose to Captain 5th Manchesters, Krithia Vineyard, Gallipoli alongside ANZACS, French and Newfoundlanders, survived Great War, many bloody campaigns, Battle of the Selle being the last. Demobilised December 15, 1918, Charleroi.  WW2 proved too much for him 18th July 1944. RIP – my grandfather.

David Akenhead, born 22nd February 1894 at Scunthorpe Lincs, Captain 6th Lincolnshires, Medic Suvla Bay landings, Gallipoli. Invalided out Flers-Courcelette, Tank offensive, Somme 15th September 1916, severe shrapnel (leg) and loss of eye. OBE for services to Horticulture, King’s Birthday honours 1950. RIP 1978 Offham, Kent – my great uncle.

Alice Akenhead, born 1885, Artist and Nurse, St John’s Ambulance, Western Front, No. 161901 -1914, 1915, 1916 Battle of the Somme 15th September 1916 aided with other nurses displaying their Red Crosses against orders, injured soldiers at Flers Courcelette sheltering under clapped out tanks under constant sniper fire, including David Akenhead her younger brother, above and what remained of his troop. German snipers respected their courage and held fire. Mentioned in dispatches. Awarded George Medal R.R.C. 2nd by George V. RIP 1965 aged 80 – my great aunt.

All in The Great War were Voluntary Territorials who came from peacetime professions and answered the Call, and whose military training was rudimentary at best. Ditto the Newfoundlanders, a number under age, making their achievements all the more remarkable.

The Second World War 1939-1945

Flight Lieutenant Richard Nigel ‘Ape’ Cullen DFC and Bar, RAF no. 39967 Australian Fighter Ace. Born Newcastle NSW, Australia 1917, living with his family in Putney, London UK; his death is recorded fighting in the Greek campaign subsequent to the North African, alongside his number 1, Squadron Leader Pattle DFC and Bar, “a second Fiat ‘jumped’ Cullen (Hurricane V7288) not seen again; aircraft crashed near Himare, Australian ‘ace’ killed”. RIP 4th March 1941 serving the RAF, Australia and Greece – my uncle 24 years old.

Lieutenant Colonel,  Edmund Akenhead TD, Army Air Corps and Pilot Officer RAF and Intelligence. Outbreak of war engaged in hazardous job of flying new fighters from factory airfield to airfields where they were needed. Later joined Glider Pilots. Compassionate leave on his father’s death excused him 1st wave over Arnhem. Prior to the Rhine crossings and 50 miles inside enemy territory landing in daylight preserving his 22 men before hiding in nearby wood at nightfall, confronting a Bauer, both men brandishing pistols and quietly suggesting a friendly surrender in fluent German, earned him his TD (George VI) when he radioed in finally that his sector was clear. Born 5th September 1913, died 22nd December 1990 RIP. Arms of Akenhead restored by QE2 under QV amnesty to landed Scottish families post Culloden, 31st October 1989, Times crossword Editor 1965-1983 – my father.

Captain Angela Akenhead artist, actress and producer and GODA adjudicator, nee Cullen and sister of  Richard above, born Newcastle NSW, Australia, 16th April 1919. Joined ATS on her 21st birthday in 1940 as a Corporal. Rank elevated to Captain i/c instructing Princess Elizabeth in late 1944 with Ambulance maintenance at Aldershot, (alongside driving instructor, Staff Sergeant Stella Cody) – post war WRVS and Guide for Lord Pembroke at Wilton House in her later life – my mother, died 7th November 2009.

Loved and always remembered.

“In pastures green he leadeth me, the silent waters by” Hymn 556 (adapted from Pink Floyd and The Scottish Psalter 1650) The Lord’s My Shepherd from The 23rd Psalm of David “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul” to the good peoples of Ukraine for ever in our thoughts

“`That’s the reason they’re called lessons,’ the Gryphon remarked: `because they lessen from day to day. ‘ This was quite a new idea to Alice, and she thought it over a little before she made her next remark.” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Ch. 9 by Charles Dodgson 1865 (Lewis Carroll) – (Cue: Vanishing Point? – DA)

“The Child is Father of the Man” My Heart Leaps Up, by William Wordsworth 1802

“Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep, and doesn’t know where to find them. Leave them alone and they’ll come home, dragging their tails behind them” Nursery Rhyme, Anon – origins ‘playing Bo-Peep’ penalty Pillory 14th Century

“There but for fortune, go you or I, you or I” – Joan Baez, by Phil Ochs 1964 (and I ! – DA, 2023)

“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, by George Lord Byron 1819

“Let it Be” by Sir Paul McCartney 1970

Meditationes Sacrae: ipsa scientia potestas est (knowledge itself is power) by Sir Francis Bacon 1597

“For fools rush in where angels fear to tread ” An Essay on Criticism, by Alexander Pope 1711

“An honest man’s the noblest work of God” An Essay on Man, by Alexander Pope 1733

“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever” Endymion, by John Keats 1818

“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

“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! . . . But when on life we’re tempest-driv’n, A conscience but a canker — A correspondence fix’d wi’ Heav’n Is sure a noble anchor. Adieu dear amiable youth! Your heart can ne’er be wanting!” 

Epistle to a Young Friend (Andrew Aiken, son of Robert Aiken of Ayr) Robert Burns, May, 1786

We thank thee Lord who by thy spirit doth our faith restore
When we with worldly things commune & prayerless close our door
We lose our precious gift divine to worship and adore
Then thou our Saviour, fill our hearts to love thee evermore

Princess Margaret’s own words for her memorial stone at St George’s Chapel, Windsor – a lovely Lady, sadly missed – DA

“A thousand ages in Thy sight Are like an evening gone Short as the watch that ends the night Before the rising sun” 

Isaac Watts, 1708

“The quality of mercy is not strain’d it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven” William Shakespeare, 1595

To my beloved father, Edmund, life member of the Magic Circle and our illustrious pre-Scottish, Saxon forebears (Aachen) “From the sky we came, agents of Thor, and brought the rain to replenish a wilderness” David Akenhead, Yuletide 2022, and devoted servant of The Thunderer 

Nature I loved, and, next to NatureArt: I warmed both hands before the fire of Life;. It sinks; and I am ready to depart. Walter Savage Landor, English Cemetery, Florence 1864

“In my arms she drew last air From the chasms of my grief. Rudely awoken upon the visions of her dreaming” Eagle Timothy Francis Percy Savage © Sep 2011 – Further examples of Timothy’s poetry can be viewed under The Savage Touch on this website

“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

“Fine judgement makes sound sense” as a clue for “Good taste” Brian Greer, The Diamond Jubilee Puzzle, December 1990 

“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 London Marathon 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 new Order, her address (and advice) to The Religious 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.

David Akenhead, CEO Akenhead crosswords, 10th November, 2023

Our Visits reached 200,000 on Monday, July 10th 2023

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



With the launch of our new e-commerce sub-domain at on August 10 2022, the old subscriber base has been scrapped. See further comments in my daily revised Editorial under NEWS.

Witness in particular samples of the following from my Crossword Archive now available within the limits of our new agreement with The Times through the NEW Link in Gallery:

‒ 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 NOW all her Sunday Times publications, including Cryptic and ConciseRIP

‒ 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 221,319

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, conjuror and Life member of the Magic Circle – his opening line in a bar in 1944 to my equally gifted ATS mother was ‘pick a card!’! That she did! – he a surviving glider pilot too post Arnhem now with the newly formed Army Air Corps where he was awarded the Territorial Decoration for distinguished wartime service as a trail blazer with his small troop, prior to the Rhine crossings, in the footsteps of his aunt, Alice Akenhead GM in the Great War for equally distinguished service as a nurse. His presence here is 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 which Eric Chalkley (Apex- Guardian) in the Observer described as ‘a little masterpiece’ (perhaps, ‘little’ could be reserved for Alice in Wonderland or Gulliver in Lilliput!), 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, along with Patrick Campbell and Ned Sherrin as host to the crossword gameshow which had a run of 9 months twice weekly, marking a significant first, for The Times crossword.

On this website, witness titles from his son’s exclusive Crossword Digital Library, compiled by him voluntarily and updated regularly, 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. Added newly to all this, in true Dickensian style, an AZ of memorable clues and solutions over the years, and in particular his own and his father’s, entitled aptly ‘Sketches by DA’.

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

Very best wishes – David Akenhead, author of the Times, Sunday Times and Sun Computer Crosswords and former Crossword Consultant to The Times from the lovely island of Newfoundland

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 (delicious mastermind on Jeopardy!) 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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