In his Essay on Man, Alexander Pope in 1733 wrote “An honest man’s the noblest work of God”. He also wrote in the same work, “Hope springs Eternal”.

“So let it be with Caesar” (Mufasa, my father and my own Simba king and mentor!) yet in the cut-throat world of high finance today, that’s a tall order for a retired Times journalist born a Leo, in the Year of the Dog in 1946, for a man from a family traditionally whose span is all but spun, in his sometimes tumultuous existence, adhering to his father’s and Pope’s wise advice to the best of his ability, putting his readers first every time. Mask of Janus, that’s me, looking forwards but respecting the past, and proud of it.

My father died at the ripe old age of 77 at Christmas time, sharp as a tack to the last and in all probability I currently at 76 will probably follow suit at about the same time and the same age next year such was his insistence on precision! but who knows, perhaps I may be the exception to the rule after successfully completing 10 successive (bar one) London Marathons, which only one of my ancestors, Ekenhead might have matched with Lord Byron!

William Wordsworth wrote in his wonderful poem in 1802, My Heart Leaps Up “The Child is Father of the Man”. I was that Child, and I have become that Father as my own illustrious Father before me.

Just as I was allowed to assume my Father’s legacy, and hopefully do justice to his memory and expand a little the reach of two august titles – The Times and Sunday Times – with a durable blend to ensure that Hymns Ancient as well as Modern would continue in the enduring tradition of two leading newspapers whose global blast is also matched by their gentle rain upon the place beneath, so I ask, that when my time is up, my four children, headed by my youngest, Robbie, another applied mathematician and logician in time-honoured family tradition, may enable Alpha and Omega to remain for an eternity in loyal service of their master The Thunderer!

Summing up with Sir Paul McCartney’s and William Shakespeare’s wisdom, as far as my legacy is concerned: ‘Let it Be’ and let the Good not be interred in my bones! Non Recuso Laborem! Orando Laborando! Nil Desperandum!

David Akenhead former Crossword Consultant to The Times, Christmas 2022


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