Paul Henderson was born in Darlington in north-east England in 1959. He took a degree in astronomy at St. Andrews University. After a short period working for Oxfam, he worked for the UK Home Office between 1988 and 2005. In January 2006 he moved to New Zealand to work for their Ministry of Justice. He now lives in Stokes Valley, a suburb of Lower Hutt, just north of Wellington.
His father introduced him to crosswords, and he started solving many puzzle magazines, before stumbling on Alec Robins’ Teach Yourself Crosswords. He found the views on fairness in that book much to his taste, and has espoused them ever since. Gradually his interest widened and he started solving Azed and the Listener puzzles.
Phi appears regularly in The Independent (generally on Fridays, but also including the Saturday magazine puzzle) and The Listener (for which he produced a series of 12 puzzles based on The Labours of Hercules). Puzzles under his own name appear in The Church Times and BBC Music Magazine. For The Sunday Telegraph’s Enigmatic Variations he is Kcit (if HP = Tick then Kcit = PH) and he also uses Pedro (alternate letters of P hEnDeRsOn, which he sometimes wishes he’d thought of first). He is an anonymous contributor to The Times. He also runs ‘A Puzzle Every Xmas’ – an annual puzzle circulated to a small group of aficionados – in succession to APEX (further details can be found on another page of the site).
While in the UK, Paul arranged a number of the annual Listener Crossword Setters’ dinners, including the 75th anniversary one in 2005, and the only overseas one (Paris, 2000, the planning for which allowed him to visit Rouen for the 1999 eclipse; unfortunately the sun chose Paris).
Outside puzzles, Paul’s chief interest is music (with a particular focus on contemporary classical music) and quizzes (he reached the semi-finals of Mastermind in 1987).
You can contact Paul at phixwd at gmail dot com..