This week saw the passing of Michael Macdonald-Cooper, who was crossword editor of The Independent for a while, and with whom I shared the Beelzebub puzzle after the death of Richard Whitelegg. I met him several times and he was a lovely, gentle man. We stayed at his house once, in 1997 on our way to Orkney, and he and his wife Celia made us very welcome. Michael had recently had some serious surgery, and, although he was hale and hearty (and took a daily early morning swim), Celia was very worried in case any word reached the Independent, and swore us to secrecy.
I can’t reproduce one of his puzzles, of course – though I can point you here (Michael was ostensibly editor, but in fact set nearly all of them), and the Beelzebub homepage on this site has a couple of sources for some puzzles. Instead I’m putting up Beelzebub 1358, the last to be published, which contains some references to the puzzle’s history. Two Beelzebubs in consecutive posts, but I think the circumstances dictate.
There’s a Toughie from Kcit on Wednesday 20 September, and a Church Times puzzle under my own name, probably on 29 September. The information re the Church Times puzzle came with two dates, and a puzzle number that alluded to a third, but the balance of evidence is 29 September, rather than the preceding week.