In Memoriam Jeff Marshall, TheRotter, 1951-2023

I am very sad to have to announce that Jeff Marshall, who blogged on TfTT as TheRotter, passed away suddenly on December 13, 2023.   Since he was one of our most reliable bloggers, I was quite concerned when there was no sign of his blog for Quickie 2553 in the early morning hours of December 21.  My fears were not unfounded; two days later, I received the news of his death.

Thanks to Linda Marshall, I am pleased to be able to present the following brief biographical tribute:

Jeff Marshall was born on June 28, 1951 in Nottingham.   He attended the Thurnby Lodge Primary School and the Gateway Grammar School in Leicester.  In January of 1968, he joined the Royal Navy in as an Engine Room Artificer (ERA) apprentice.  Following almost four years of shore based apprentice training in Cornwall and Fife, he served at sea as a chief petty officer in HM Ships Ark Royal, Blake and Londonderry, in which he participated in the Icelandic Cod War.

Ashore he gave engineering support at the Naval bases in Portsmouth and Plymouth as well as to the Royal Marines landing craft section at Poole, from which he was deployed to The Falklands post-hostilities as part of the team re-instating the military infrastructure on the islands.

Jeff was an intellectual at heart with a broad range of interests including literature, poetry, mathematics, cosmology and science; his hero was Albert Einstein. He never lost his enthusiasm for gaining knowledge and whilst at sea continued his academic studies with the Open University, gaining a mathematics degree.

He subsequently gained his Lieutenant’s commission at Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, where he was awarded the Queen’s Telescope as the top student. His promotion also saw him say farewell to marine engineering as he changed career path to become an Instructor Officer, where he remained until leaving the Navy.

In civilian life,  Jeff joined the staff of King’s College London. Initially he took the position as Head of Technical Operations on the senior management team of the IT department, before eventually being promoted to Director of Procurement. As Director, he oversaw the college’s  contracting function, from off-shoring the student recruitment system to ensuring the compliance of the procurement contracts. He made a significant contribution to the college and retired in 2018.

He was gifted in his ability to apply logic to problem solving, something he loved doing. He started doing crosswords as a young man, working through various levels of crosswording until eventually discovering the Times, which became his favourite. His day always started with the Times Crossword and he was delighted when he won the prize for the Sunday Mephisto. He took great pleasure in blogging, even when travelling…..regardless of the time difference.

Jeff was a man of great warmth and kindness who was renowned for his cutting wit and arid sense of humour! His loss is immeasurable.




Here at Times for The Times, Jeff was one of our steadiest bloggers, He joined the Quickie blogging team  on April 7, 2016, when Olivia Rhinebeck had to give up blogging the Thursday Quickie and was replaced by TheRotter and RolyToly on alternate Thursdays.    In his time as a blogger, Jeff never missed a blog, and posted a total of 204 Quickie blogs.    Jeff had many fans among the Quickie commenters, some of whom considered him the best and most engaging blogger.   He will be missed.



75 comments on “In Memoriam Jeff Marshall, TheRotter, 1951-2023”

  1. ❤️

    I’m so very sorry to read this and also grateful that the community here isn’t always just anonymous people behind a username that can just disappear without a trace

    What an accomplished life; I will miss his blogs for sure, I always learned so much and had a giggle.

  2. So terribly sorry! I feel bereft; as a new solver I was only beginning to know The Rotter.

    Thank you so much for the biographical sketch! Especially nice to have the photo.

  3. (“April 7” what year?)

    A twenty-one-gun salute to Officer Jeff Marshall, and thanks for making us better acquainted with him, Vinyl.

    1. Very sad to hear The Rotter has crossed the bar. I enjoyed his blogs and clear explanations as a relative newcomer to TfTT and cryptic crosswords. RIP.

  4. Terribly sad news. I shall miss the warmth and humour of Rotter’s blogs, and his kind words of encouragement.

    RIP Jeff

  5. I’m very sorry to hear this. I enjoyed his blogs and found him encouraging, helpful and humorous in equal measure. RIP.

  6. I was incredibly saddened to hear this news. While not being an active poster here, I do read the blog pretty well every day after my breakfast and the QC and TheRotter was one of those whose posts I always looked for. I enjoyed his breadth of knowledge, his dry wit, and his obvious love of The Times crossword.

    He was always something of a personal benchmark for me (much more so than the QSNITCH) because he and I always seemed to have very similar times and I was would use his posts as a way of judging the hardness of the puzzle. His passing has left a gap in my life.

  7. RIP Jeff ‘TheRotter’ Marshall. I always enjoyed – and think I may once have been on the receiving end of one of – his witty and to-the-point blog comments. He’ll be greatly missed here.

  8. Sad news to wake up to. I always looked for his posts and enjoyed his blogs.
    I will miss the rotterometer.

  9. How very sad. And what an impressive, accomplished individual. An inspiration to all to continue lifelong the pursuit of knowledge and experience.

  10. Sad. RIP The Rotter. I don’t often comment on the quickie but I do do it and I usually read the blog. He will be sorely missed. François.

  11. That’s very sad news. He’ll be missed here for sure. Thanks for the impressive biography, what an interesting life he led. RIP The Rotter, and sincere condolences to his loved ones.

  12. Very sad news. I met him just once, at The George last year. He was lot of fun.

    RIP The Rotter.

    1. I’m so glad I made it to The George that day, for many reasons. Enjoyed a couple of beers with The Rotter.

      RIP Jeff.

    2. I too – precisely. What a shock. Incredibly sad to read that someone who was so full of life, humour, sparkle and erudition can suddenly, just a few months later, cease to exist. I suppose, when we meet someone causally like that, we can never know what incipient health problems they may have. How sobering; any of us could be next.

    3. Yes, I too, met him just the once at The George last year, in the queue for the bar! We chatted a fair bit, and I feel particularly sad to hear of his passing, as I was looking forward to seeing him again. What a lovely person – I don’t often do the Quickie, but I enjoyed occasionally reading his blogs and his comments on the main puzzle from time to time.

  13. A life fully lived, but ended too soon. He was very much part of what endears this blog to me, a witty and interesting blogger and an engaging participant in the general chat. I am so sad I won’t read his comments again. Many thanks to Linda Marshall for giving us that insight into the man behind the cheeky avatar. Much sympathy to his family and friends – I feel I have also lost a friend. Well done Vinyl1 for this information.

  14. What sad news. Although I rarely post, I follow the qc blog everyday and ROTTER has, for years, been my ‘go to’ for his comments and thoughts about the day’s offering. He will be much missed!

  15. The news stopped me in my tracks. So sorry to hear that therotter is no longer with us.
    I only knew him through his excellent blogs but all the information in Linda’s fine eulogy fits with my picture of him, developed over the years. I endorse all the appreciative comments from the bloggers above.
    I was struck by how close his QC solving times were to mine on many, many occasions and felt he was a kindred spirit in many ways. He will be sorely missed. My sincere condolences to Linda and his family. John M.

  16. I was privileged to meet Jeff at The George and he wasn’t a rotter at all!

    So sorry to hear this sad news.

    Thank you for telling us something of his life.

    I hope his nearest and dearest take comfort from the joy he brought to strangers through his crosswording.

  17. This is terrible. His blogs were witty, informative and I learnt much from them, and his gentle wit never crossed the line. From this obituary I see that he was an impressive man with many achievements over his multiple careers. James M.

  18. I shared many a comment on the blog with Jeff on our shared love of football, he being a Leicester City fan and me a Newport County devotee. I always look forward to reading his comments and analysis of the days puzzle and will miss his sense of humour. A nice man, he will be greatly missed.

  19. I join everyone else in being much saddened by this news. When I started doing QCs, TheRotter’s blogs were the ones I understood most and enjoyed most, and his times were very often very similar to mine too – a great yardstick. And what a wonderful avatar!

    Thank you Vinyl1 for letting us all know and for posting the obituary.

  20. I’m very sorry to hear of TheRotter’s passing – I never knew him myself but admired his engaging blogging style.

  21. So sad to hear this. I had noticed the absence of his blogs and was already missing him. There was so much warmth and humour in those bolgs and I always enjoyed checking my times against his! It sounds like a good life, well lived – though too short.
    My sympathy to all who knew and loved him.

  22. “For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
    The flood may bear me far,
    I hope to see my Pilot face to face
    When I have crossed the bar.”

    God speed, Jeff.

  23. A great tribute – the brief biography showing that behind all of those little pictures on the blog there are people with wide and varied lives.

  24. Very sad to hear. TheRotter always came across as a thoroughly decent bloke from his blogs and the tribute has shown what an accomplished man he was in so many areas. I will miss his humour, shown so clearly in the photo and the encouragement he gave to those finding their way in the world of cryptic crosswords.

    My condolences to his family and friends.

  25. How sad to read this. I don’t usually comment but do read the blog and was always delighted to see it was his turn, he brought a warmth and wit. Thank you for letting us see the accomplished man behind the writing and condolences to his friends and family

  26. I always enjoyed my communications/messages with Jeff. Very much a man after my own heart.

  27. A very sad loss.
    Sincere condolences to Linda, the rest of his family and his friends.

  28. So sad. I remember when he consulted us all about changing his userpic. We were all horrified. He and his avatar were part of the fabric of TfTT. He will be missed

  29. Such sad news. Thank you for sharing Linda’s eulogy with us. He’ll be very much missed. RIP Jeff.

  30. This is desperately sad news. He was one of the Bloggers I always looked forward to reading, and he would respond kindly to my occasional leg pulling about his naval career. An Open University degree and finishing top in his year at Dartmouth are fine achievements, and I just hope he found his blogging duties similarly rewarding. RIP, Rotter.

  31. RIP, Jeff. We exchanged many a message ‘behind the scenes’ and I shall miss him no longer being around.

  32. Very sad news indeed. I shall miss his sense of humour most of all. I often recall one of his mischievous rules ‘if it doesn’t parse, it’s probably ……..’
    Thanks for the tribute, much appreciated.

  33. RIP Rotter, thanks for the blogs and condolences to the family.

    Thanks for this little tribute, beautifully written

  34. Very sad news. I always enjoyed Jeff’s contributions here, and it was a pleasure to meet him at the George earlier this year. My sincere condolences to Linda and the family.

  35. RIP Rotter and thanks to Vinyl1 for sharing the biography, what an interesting life. I don’t routinely read the QC blog but was aware of him as a particularly great blogger. Condolences to the family.

  36. Sad news but glad to read of such a full life. He will be greatly missed. Thanks to Linda for sharing with us.

  37. Farewell to my fellow Thursday blogger. We had a kind of a friendly rivalry about who would be able to solve the puzzle the fastest and get the blog up, always trying to get it out before 1am his time and 8pm mine. Did not know much of his past, but what a fascinating life.

  38. Rather late in the day, I should like to add my own tribute. I have read Jeff’s blogs from the beginning and as many others have commented they were always entertaining and encouraging to beginners. His avatar, both picture and name, showed his wit. RIP Rotter, you will be missed.
    Barry J

  39. How very sad to die so young.
    Never met him in person but he always came across as a great guy.
    Do they have crosswords on the other side?

  40. Very saddened to hear this and condolences to his family; I always enjoyed his comments and humour and regarded him as a true gentleman, it is our sad loss.

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