Day 7: The London Puzzle, Sunday Feb 10, 2013

The Thames and Westminster

Nearly home! I lived in London for fifteen years before marrying a Brighton girl in 2011, and it seemed appropriate to be invited by the dynamic duo of Francesca E. and Virginia P. to host the last date of our tour at their splendid home in North London.

Here are some words from Francesca:

‘John Halpern – aka cryptic crossword super-setter Paul from the Guardian – has been doing his bit to publicise the centenary of the publication of the first cryptic crossword. His year of celebration events kicked off in style with the mass creation of a London-themed cryptic crossword. Twenty crossword fanatics of all ages gathered in North London, delighted to meet one of the crossword legends of our time. The challenge was to create a brand new cryptic crossword where nearly all the words referred to London themes or attractions – in just two hours. It was hard to believe he could pull it off, but indeed he did. The finished product included the words Tate Modern, Great Fire, Shard, Tower, Boris Bike, Big Ben, Harrods, Eros, Old Bailey and Mind The Gap, – and even got in a reference to wombling (although sadly not Wimbledon Common). Participants explained the captivating lure of the cryptic crossword, and why they braved the snow to get there. These complex puzzles, once mastered, provide delight for a lifetime. John’s year of events can be found at – if you’ve always wanted to do the cryptic crossword, this is your big chance’.

And here is the puzzle for you to try!

The London Puzzle

Thank you so much to all those who hosted our wonderful events, to all those who pressed the local press relentlessly, and above all to my guests who attended our shows.

For those of you who weren’t able to make it, or simply weren’t aware of the tour, DON’T WORRY. Please just subscribe to to receive news of further events during the year. I intend to do more tours later in the year, and I’d love the opportunity to meet you.

But for the moment, this is the end of the tour. Back home to Brighton, my lovely wife Taline and our beautiful baby Aram.

This is only the beginning. This is the beginning of a movement that will bring fun with words to the world. I’d love you to join in. Do stay in touch, because….

Further down the line we shall be forming teams, founding word-lovers’ clubs, some may open word game cafes, with a puzzle provided every morning for clients to solve. Others will simply enjoy the process of creating puzzles among themselves; with family and friends, about all the things they love. A football-based puzzle, a birders’ puzzle; a puzzle written by and about one’s family…  There couldn’t be a better opportunity to share what’s important to you, and to learn about what’s important to friends and family we love.

It’s about connection. It’s about friendship.

Subscribe to to find out what’s happening next.

And spread the word.

Much love and respect,

John Halpern (aka Paul)



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