Independent Inquisitor

The Independent’s Saturday magazine has carried a thematic crossword since 1988, pretty well from the first issue, I believe.  The numbering of said puzzle is, however, all set to be a puzzle for future cruciverbal historians, as it has reset several times, generally with a redesign of the magazine or the games page.  Its most recent incarnation – the Inquisitor – is numbered ‘correctly’ – that is, the number on the puzzle today (I’m writing this on 3 November 2012) is 1254, and it is indeed the 1254th published in the magazine.  But when I get to some of the intervening puzzles you may find that the numbers drop unexpectedly low.

I can’t recall in detail how I got on to the team setting the puzzle.  After some years of setting Listener puzzles, and attending the annual dinner, I had got to know a few setters, and was essentially hanging around, hoping for an opportunity.  I vaguely recall that the call, when it came, arrived at the reception desk of a hotel where I was attending a conference  – Sheffield, I think.  It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting when the receptionist said there was a message for me to ring a certain number.

In the early days, setters reappeared quite quickly (the first one of mine was No. 5, the second No. 10) but the roster has expanded somewhat, and the turn-round isn’t quite so hectic.  I have, however, racked up over 120 of these puzzles in the intervening years, so there are plenty to choose from.

Alas, the Independent does not currently put the Inquisitor puzzle up on its website.  I should add too that the puzzle moved to the main Saturday paper itself, sometime in 2013, I think (certainly after I wrote the first paragraph above), where it sits under the weather.   (No doubt someone will use that concept as a puzzle idea in due course.)

It’s worth adding to the foregoing to accommodate more recent history following The Independent’s move to online only publishing – The Inquisitor now appears (still in paper form, still no online presence) in the i.

Puzzle 5: Leading Lights

Puzzle 78: In ten cases…

Puzzle 156: Puzzle of the Year of the…

Puzzle 529: Anagrams

Puzzle 547: Domains

Puzzle 7: Tom Swifties

 Puzzle 377: Not So Complex?

 Puzzle 84: ‘Twas Ever Thus

Puzzle 1185: Trilogy

Puzzle 1212: Dicta

Puzzle 301: Star Quality

Puzzle 563: Musical Chairs

Puzzle 132: Countdown

Puzzle 139: Sleepers

Puzzle 90: Passacaglia with Variations

Puzzle 135: 14/1/1898

Puzzle 225: Middle Eights

Puzzle 168: Algebra

Puzzle 361: Sightings

Puzzle 1303: Persuasion

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  1. we too went to a certain cheese emporium, the royl hotel and to tirohana and to haythornthwaite (the rose Jennifer is a delight. We then went to the seals and the lighthouse – small world.

    I have the Independent Book of Weekend Crosswords volume 1 – are you aware of any other books of similar status by any chance?

    Maybe we’ll meet in the Rapa one day!!

    • Hi Stuart
      There are two Volumes 1 of Independent Weekend Crosswords – one from Chambers, and one from Headline. The Headline one was at least followed up by a second and third volume (this was way back in the 1990s); the Chambers series (from 2005) – well, wasn’t a series.

      We have some of the Jennifer put aside for the other half’s birthday in a couple of weeks, and we seem also to be keeping an Ursula for future consumption as well. We took Sabre there on Christmas Eve 2017, but didn’t quite persuade him to buy any.

      Not sure I’ll be over the hill this weekend (given the weather) but I am hoping to get something up on the site.


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