Farewell, Independent, and thanks for all the dictionaries..

I thought I’d resume blogging activity rather gently with a short post to mark the end of an era. Both the Independent and the Independent on Sunday have ceased to exist, at least in their print editions.  It was about three years ago that I switched from the Observer to the Independent on Sunday, which involved switching from the Azed cryptic crossword to Beelzebub for my most testing weekly crossword challenge. I stopped doing the Saturday Prize Cryptic puzzle in the Saturday Guardian too, in favour of the Independent Saturday Prize crossword in the Independent which immediately paid dividends in terms of prizes!

For crossword aficianados both the Azed and Beelzebub crosswords are composed by strict adherents of the rules set by the great Ximenes and both feature grids with no black squares, in contrast to the more normal Everyman puzzle. Jonathan Crowther, who sets the Azed puzzles is the successor to Ximenes in the Observer; he’s been setting puzzles there since 1971.

Anyway, the last Independent on Sunday was published on Sunday 20th March and it included a list of the winners of the last two Beelzebub puzzles; the very final one was No. 1,358:


It’s a nice way to mark the end of an era! One last dictionary to add to the collection. I’ve completely lost track of the number of books of words I’ve won from the weekly puzzles in the Independent, but it’s certainly more than 50. I’ve given many away but there’s still a large stack in Dorothy’s office.

Anyway, I spent some of my Easter weekend off doing the Guardian  prize crossword (extra-large size, but quite easy) followed by Everyman and Azed in the Observer. I guess that’s my diet from now on…



3 Responses to “Farewell, Independent, and thanks for all the dictionaries..”

  1. telescoper Says:

    A character called MacNutt appeared in one of the episodes of Inspector Morse. Since Colin Dexter is an avid fan of crossword puzzles, I think this was no coincidence…

  2. Mark Steele Says:

    Dear Peter,

    I have been following your blog regularly for a few years now. I can’t remember exactly when I picked it up, however I was an MSci student when you were at Nottingham and enjoyed your TPP and Cosmology lectures greatly. I follow very few blogs – I think it’s your eclectic interests, many of which I share, and down to earth manner together with the connection to Nottingham that retain my interest.

    Anyway, I have been a cryptic solver for a few years now, gradually moving onto the harder broadsheet ones. I have been astonished at how many prizes you have won, as I have been posting several entries a week for some time and – although I suppose it is statistically not all that likely! – never won anything – until now! You have inspired me to persist, and, after moving up to Azed ‘level’ in the last few months, have finally received my first set of book tokens (no. 2,284), and the strange experience (to me at least) of being in print on the guardian website! I expect that successful clue-setting may be beyond me too however given my lone effort, which I was actually quite pleased with, didn’t make a HC.

    No need to publish the comment, I just wanted to thank you for your time and effort.

    Kind regards

    • telescoper Says:

      Thanks for your kind words about my lectures. I was lucky enough while I was there to get to teach two subjects I enjoyed!

      Since the demise of the Independent I too have resumed my attempts at Azed, including a first stab at Sunday’s competition puzzle. Let’s see if I can scrape an HC…

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