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Crossword Who's Who - B

A Cruciverbal Compendium



Sandy Balfour is an award-winning television producer, author and social activist. For three years he wrote the 'X-Philes' column in The Guardian, for which he has also been crossword editor, and the columns were collected in I Say Nothing (3).

He is also the author of A Clue to Our Lives, tracing eighty years of the Guardian cryptic crossword, and a book of memoirs, Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose (8), about love and crosswords.

I Say Nothing (3) A Clue to Our Lives Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose (8)


Bandmaster is the pseudonym of R S Morse for crosswords in The Listener series and in The Magpie

Index of Bandmaster crosswords in The Listener

Index of Bandmaster crosswords in The Crossword Database


The pseudonym of Richard Rogan for crosswords in The Independent.


Douglas Barnard was an intelligence officer in World War II. He compiled crosswords for The Daily Telegraph from 1958 until 1992 and was one of the leading setters of his day.

Using the style D St P Barnard, he was the author of the seminal work on crossword clueing, Anatomy of the Crossword (1963) and also several mathematically oriented books of puzzles: Adventures in Mathematics (1965), Figure it Out (1973), Family Book of Car Fun (1974).

Douglas Barnard is one of the setters featured in Val Gilbert's book A Display of Lights (9).


John Barrett MBE (born 17 April 1931) is a former tennis player, TV commentator and author. Using the pseudonym Courtier, he sets a tennis-themed cryptic crossword in the Financial Times each year at the start of the Wimbledon season.

Wikipedia page for John Barrett


Using the pseudonym Hamilton, Andrew Bartlett sets crosswords - both Cryptic and Polymath - for the Financial Times.

Born in 1951, Andrew lives in rural Leicestershire. He was for many years a middle-ranking civil servant in the Inland Revenue, Having been a regular crossword solver since 1975, he started setting after retiring from the Civil Service in 2007.

His other main interest is in public transport, and he is an occasional contributor to enthusiast magazines in this field.


Steve Bartlett sets crosswords for The Independent, using the pseudonym eXternal, and for the Financial Times, using the pseudonym Artexlen.


The pseudonym used by John Halpern when he began setting crosswords for the Financial Times. Bats was the nickname of his girlfriend at the time. When the relationship broke up, John switched to his current pseudonym, Mudd - as "his name was then mud".


Beale is a setter of Quiptic crosswords on The Guardian website.

Beale crosswords in the Guardian archive


The pseudonym of Ray Terrell for Toughie crosswords in The Daily Telegraph.


Pseudonym of the late Richard Whitelegg for crosswords in The Independent.


Max Beerbohm

In 1940 the author and caricaturist Sir Max Beerbohm wrote a letter to The Times with the wickedly mischievous suggestion that they print a crossword with completely meaningless clues. He submitted such a crossword which included among the meaningless clues six genuine (and easy) clues "to put the solvers in good heart and make them confident of success".

1 across for example, was a genuine clue: "A victorian statesman lurking in a side lair (8)". Among the plausible but impossible clues were: "There's a little company in the meadow next month (10)" and "A nudist's aunt? (6)".

The Times did publish Beerbohm's impossible crossword — but fearful of causing apoplexy in would-be solvers, they printed Beerbohm's letter alongside the puzzle!

Apropos, or otherwise, Max Beerbohm was a half-brother of Herbert Beerbohm Tree, the actor-manager immortalised in many a crossword.

Adrian BELL

Adrian Bell (1901-1980), a Suffolk farmer, was the setter of the first crossword to appear in The Times. It was published on the 2nd of January 1930, and Bell went on to set about 5,000 puzzles between 1930 and 1978.

Bell was also renowned as for the books he wrote about rural life, such as Corduroy (1930), Apple Acre (1942) and A Suffolk Harvest (1956).

He was the father of Martin Bell, the war reporter and independent politician.

Wikipedia entry for Adrian Bell

The Times crossword: the man who began it all - article in The Times, 26 March 2009


Bend is a crossword setter in The Independent whose debut puzzle appeared in January 2016.

Rex Benson


Rex Benson's Kropotkin crossword puzzles have been a feature of the New Zealand Herald weekend edition since April 1998.

His clues require a fair appreciation of Hollywood films from the golden era plus a little familiarity with the vocabularies of cricket, rugby and classical music. The solutions are peppered with New Zealand plants, landmarks and various cultural icons.

Rex lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

Interview with Rex Benson on NZ radio.


Ross Beresford

Ross Beresford has set several crosswords for The Listener (as Arcturus) and he was co-editor of The Listener crossword between 1994 and 2005.

He has also constructed many thematic cryptic crosswords for 1 Across, The Magpie and The Crossword Club.

Ross is the author and developer of the Tea and Sympathy software packages for crossword solving and construction.

In 2005/2006 he was involved in an editorial capacity for Chambers in the production of the books Chambers XWD: A Dictionary of Crossword Abbreviations and Chambers Crossword Dictionary

Ross emigrated to the USA at the beginning of 2007 and now markets his software using the Crossword Man brand. He writes daily about his experiences as a solver of US puzzles at his blog An Englishman Solves American Crosswords.

Ross Bereford's website provides a fascinating résumé of his achievements as crossword solver, setter, editor and software developer.


Peter Biddlecombe

Peter Biddlecombe is the crossword editor of the Sunday Times, having succeeded Barbara Hall who retired at the end of 2010. He also edits the TLS crossword and sets TLS crosswords as Broteas, and writes some of the ST's General Knowledge crosswords.

Peter won the Times Crossword Championship in 2000 and 2007, and also reached the final in 1992, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

He originated Times for the Times, a solving blog for The Times crossword and all other cryptic crosswords from the Times stable (except The Listener).

Peter was also a regular contributor to two other solving blogs - Fifteensquared and Big Dave's Crossword Blog.

Old examples of Peter's crosswords may be found on his website Peter's Cryptic Crossword Corner.

Big Dave

Big Dave

Big Dave is the originator and administrator of Big Dave's Crossword Blog, a blog that provides help with crosswords in The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph and explains the wordplay in simple, easy to understand, terms.


Occasional crosswords appearing in The Guardian under the pseudonym of Biggles were produced jointly by four regular Guardian compilers, all with the forename John: John Graham (Araucaria), John Halpern (Paul), John Henderson (Enigmatist) and John Young (Shed).

Just as the Biggles books were the work of W. E. Johns, so Biggles crosswords are the work of "we Johns".

Biggles crosswords in the Guardian archive

Frank Blakesley - Janus


Frank Blakesley was born in Irlams-o'-th'-Height, Lancashire. He died, aged 94, in 2009.

For almost forty years - from 1968 to 2006 - he set crosswords for The Guardian, using the pseudonym Janus - from the name of the two-faced Roman god as he was always looking two ways at words.


Boatman is the pseudonym of Ashley Knowles. He has been setting cryptic puzzles since 2001 - for The Guardian since 2008.

His work features regularly in 1 Across, the monthly magazine founded by Araucaria.

All Boatman crosswords are themed, although the nature of the theme may not be obvious at first sight. The theme may be topical or historical, or may be a purely logical or verbal connection.

Boatman's website, with sample puzzles.

Boatman crosswords in the Guardian archive


Bonxie is a cryptic crossword setter for The Guardian. He has been setting crosswords since 2004.

He lives with his family in Taunton and is often to been found on the Somerset Levels, watching birds and seeking inspiration.

Bonxie crosswords in the Guardian archive


A pseudonym formerly used by Roger Squires for crosswords in The Independent (in which he also had puzzles published under the pseudonyms of Icarus and Hodge).


Anne Bradford has been compiling the esteemed Bradford's Crossword Solver's Dictionary since 1957, and regularly publishes new editions. She devotes a considerable time each day to solving crosswords, and notes, on average, 150 words a week. She is an active member of The Crossword Club and also sets crosswords. She lives in London.


The pseudonym of Don Manley for crosswords in the Financial Times.


Breadman is the pseudonym used by Mike Warburton for Times Quick Cryptic crosswords.


The pseudonym of Brian Greer for crosswords in The Guardian.

Brendan crosswords in the Guardian archive


Paul Bringloe

Paul Bringloe, a freelance advertising copywriter, sets crosswords for the Financial Times (as Neo), for The Independent (as Tees and occasionally as Glueball), and for The Times.

He is also a drummer, performing with several London-based progressive rock bands.


The pseudonym of Peter Biddlecombe for crosswords in the Times Literary Supplement.


As Dumpynose, Chris Brougham has been a regular setter of crosswords for The Spectator since 1996.

He also set crosswords for The Listener, as Pabulum.

Richard BROWNE

Richard Browne is a setter of crosswords in The Times. (including Times Quick Cryptic crosswords as Teazel) and in The Guardian (as Imogen).

Richard was the Times crossword editor from 2002 to January 2014, when he was succeeded by Richard Rogan.

He created the times2 crossword in that paper in 1993 and compiled it for the following nine years.

He has formerly set crosswords for The Daily Telegraph (1995-2003), for the Financial Times (as Antares). and for The Independent (as Victor), but had to cease contributing to these papers when he became the Times crossword editor.

Richard lives on the Hampshire Coast. He is an enthusiastic singer of classical choral music and performs regularly in Winchester with the Waynflete Singers, with whom he has made several CDs and performed at the Proms. He is also a keen walker and a lifelong Chelsea fan.


The pseudonym of Eddie James for crosswords in The Guardian.

Eddie, who lives in Birmingham, started setting crosswords in the 1970s. He turned 'professional' after early retirement from BT in 1995 and was first published in the Guardian in 2003.

Brummie crosswords in the Guardian archive


James Brydon is a languages teacher who has been publishing cryptic crosswords since 2003 and is a regular solver of both French and Serbian crosswords in publications such as Le Nouvel Observateur and Politika.

As Lavatch, he sets cryptics in The Spectator and in The Listener series.

As Picaroon, he sets crosswords for The Guardian.

As Rodriguez, he sets crosswords for The Independent. His debut puzzle appeared in February 2016.


Buck is a crossword setter in The Independent whose debut puzzle appeared in February 2015.


The pseudonym of the late Bob Smithies (1934-2006) for crosswords in The Guardian.

Bunthorne was renowned for producing elegant crosswords which sometimes demanded of the solver a considerable degree of general knowledge and breadth of culture. As it was expressed in Smithies' obituary in The Guardian: ”Austen, Burns, Kipling, Dickens, fine wines, obscure French cheeses, jazz, classical music, both the Old and the New Testaments, the papacy, Judaism, Greek Orthodoxy, oriental religions, the heroes of the great Magnum photo agency, gardening - these were just some of the worlds that he brought to his puzzles.”

Another notable feature of his puzzles was his fondness for long anagrams, such as:
Prudence thus, denoting strictness, had got this wrong (7,3,2,3,8,3,2).

Bunthorne crosswords in the Guardian archive


Eric Burge

Eric Burge was born in London on 28 October 1926. He was educated at Cirencester grammar school and obtained a first in physics from Bristol University under the tutelage of two Nobel prizewinners, Cecil Powell and Nevill Mott, Having worked as a physics lecturer in London, he was then appointed principal education officer for further education in Gloucestershire in 1971. He moved to Cheltenham, living there happily into his retirement years.

His first published crosswords appeared during the 1960s in the Radio Times. Over the years he extended his range, setting both specialist and cryptic puzzles. His puzzles appeared in The Listener (as Phiz), Country Life, the Birmingham Post, the Independent magazine (as EB) and the Sunday Telegraph's Enigmatic Variations series (as Quota), among others.

For crosswords in the Oxford Times he styled himself Quasar, in the Financial Times he was Quark, and when he joined The Guardian in 1990 he set puzzles under the pseudonym of Quantum.

Eric Burge died on 14 May 2008.

Guardian obituary for Eric Burge, 6 June 2008


The pseudonym of Tom Johnson for Toughie crosswords in The Daily Telegraph.


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