The Enigmatic Variations (EV) puzzle in the Sunday Telegraph was the brainchild of James Leonard, who edited it for twenty years until his death in 2013. Then the editorship passed to Chris Lancaster, who maintained the high standard while gently putting his own stamp on things. In 2019, he handed on the reins to Steve Bartlett. The puzzle is currently only available to people who buy the newspaper itself, or subscribe via a service such as PressReader.
When I heard that the new puzzle series was under way, I dropped James a note, reminding him that I’d given him details of who to contact for submissions to the Independent Magazine puzzle, and asking if he’d like any submissions. And here we are, approaching 30 years later, with 67 puzzles under my belt as of September 2021.
One of James’ innovations was to include the name of the puzzle in the preamble, as a reminder to solvers that it may well have a bearing on the theme. Nearly all the subsequent puzzles have adhered to that. It must be said my first puzzle’s title doesn’t really do this, but I got better at it subsequently.