The Listener Crossword
The Listener was a weekly magazine established by the BBC in 1929, originally as a review of radio programmes. It ceased publication in January 1991.
The Listener Crossword Puzzle, introduced in April 1930, established a reputation as the most difficult cryptic crossword to appear in a national weekly. The Prebendary A F Ritchie (Afrit) was one of the most notable setters in the early days, as was Derrick MacNutt (Tesremos). Among later setters of note were Alec Robins, as Zander, and Eric Chalkley, as Apex.
Although the magazine ceased publication, The Listener Crossword fortunately survived. The Times took over the puzzle, starting with no. 3090 on 23 March 1991, thus maintaining the numbering of the original series.
The Listener Crossword continues to be published in The Times every Saturday. It is also available online to members of the Times Crossword Club.
Each of three randomly-drawn correct solutions wins a prize of a book provided by the sponsors, Chambers.
An annual list of statistics is also compiled for regular solvers to compare their performances. In most years only a few solvers are able to complete and submit all 52 puzzles correctly.
The Listener Crossword is an excellent website for solvers and setters. It provides masses of information, including a full list of puzzles to date, statistics, information about setters, and reference sources of particular interest to Listener solvers and setters.
Listen with Others is another interesting site for Listener crossword solvers and setters, where any solver can post a blog of their tussles with the Listener puzzle, as often or as infrequently as they wish. Occasionally, setters will also provide blogs of the development process behind one of their crosswords.
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