Apex was Eric Chalkley MBE (1917-2006), a highly-regarded setter – principally of Listener-style crosswords. You can find out more about him here.
For many years he ran an annual Christmas crossword (A Puzzle Every Xmas), circulating a puzzle privately amongst a smallish number of regular solvers and setters. The puzzle included a clue-writing competition – entrants submitted a clue, and the list of these clues was circulated back to them for them to choose their favourites. The winner of the contest was decided by their votes.
Eric was ill towards the end of his life, and decided that his last such puzzle would be in 2001. There was sufficient demand from participants for the series to continue, and I found that the baton was passed to me. I suspect that the need to retain the acronym was a factor: the series is now called A Phi Every Xmas.
It is not my intention to expand the numbers of participants greatly. The logistics of organising a largely UK-based event from NZ are quite complex (and I doubt it could have been done at all before e-mail), and I also want to keep it at a size that feels relatively intimate.
However, I would also like to share the puzzles with a wider audience. This page provides links to each puzzle so far produced, and will be updated annually a little while after the voting process has finished – probably May or June. At the moment, you will have to print off most of the puzzles from the webpage, but later ones have pdfs, and I’m aiming to add further pdf versions when time permits. (Which it never seems to…)
Remember, there was a clue-writing competition associated with each puzzle, and part of the puzzle was to determine the word to be clued.
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