NTSPP – 043


Sloggers and Betters is a term used for meetings between Bloggers and Setters – there are references to both in this puzzle.  Knowledge of the people concerned is not always required in order to solve the clues – you will have to work out which are relevant and which are just there to add interest to the puzzle.


Apex – The late Eric Chalkley set crosswords as Apex in The Listener and elsewhere.

Araucaria – John Graham MBE, best known as Araucaria in the Guardian, sets in a number of publications.  Araucaria is the technical name for the Chile pine, or monkey puzzle tree.  Cinephile, his alias in the Financial Times, is an anagram of Chile pine.  He was formerly a vicar in Huntingdonshire and shared the officiation at the recent wedding of John Henderson and Jane Teather.

Cinephile – see Araucaria.

Crucible – Crucible is a setter in the Independent.

Eimi – Mike Hutchinson is the crossword editor of the Independent, for which he also sets crosswords as Eimi.

Io – John Henderson has a number of aliases including Enigmatist in the Guardian and, via (Edward) Elgar in the Telegraph and the Enigma Variations, Io in the Financial Times and Nimrod in the Independent.  Like John Halpern, he idolises Araucaria.

Kcit – see Phi

Manley – Don Manley is a setter in a number of publications, notably as Giovanni in the Telegraph, Pasquale in the Guardian, Quixote in the Independent and Bradman in the Financial Times (all punningly connected with the name Don or Donald).

Nimrod – see Io.

Paul – John Halpern sets as Paul in the Guardian,  Mudd in the Financial Times and Punk in the Independent.  Araucaria is his hero.

Phi – Paul Henderson, who currently lives in New Zealand, sets as Phi in the Independent, and Kcit in the Telegraph.

Radian – Radian is a setter in the Independent.

Tees – Paul Bringloe sets crosswords as as Tees in the Independent and Neo in the Financial Times.

Further information about the setters can be found on Michael Curl’s excellent Best for Puzzles site.


Biddlecombe – Peter Biddlecombe is the founder of Times for the Times, the first UK crossword blog which has just celebrated its fifth birthday.  He is also a regular blogger on a Fifteensquared and Big Dave’s Crossword Blog, as well as being an occasional crossword setter.  He was Times Crossword champion in 2000 and 2007.

Big Dave – As well as blogging, Dave is the webmaster for Big Dave’s Crossword Blog. Elgar seems to think that this role involves excluding mischievous posters from the site.

Crypticsue – Sue reviews the Saturday Prize puzzle for Big Dave’s Crossword Blog on alternate weeks and blogs occasional other puzzles.

Flashling – Flashling is a regular blogger on Fifteensquared.

Jetdoc – Jane Teather, is a regular blogger on Fifteensquared.  She is married to John Henderson.

Uncle Yap – The recent Sloggers and Betters meeting was arranged to coincide with Uncle Yap’s visit to the UK.  He blogs puzzles on Fifteensquared and Times for the Times.


Further help can be obtained from the “hidden” message in the unchecked letters around the outside of the grid.