Times Archive

At the moment, vistors to the Times Online site can get free access to the paper’s archive, up to 1985. Given sufficient determination, you can use this to get old crosswords or stories or letters about the puzzle. It’s slow, not very easy to use, and irritatingly you can’t (in Firefox at least) print a page easily or keep a list of search results by opening the article on a new tab, but there are enough tools to find things effectively if you look carefully.

As an example, I used it to track down a puzzle mentioned in the 75th Anniversary book of puzzles. The one to go with the story about the retiring maths master on pages 103/4 is No. 11602, published on 27 July 1967 and presumably set by Edmund Akenhead, the crossword editor mentioned in the story. It’s a fairly easy puzzle compared to some of the literary horrors that used to appear in those days – the single quotation clue is quite easy to guess. The master’s name (Alfred Bately) is included in a way that would have worked nicely for those in the know but would have gone unnoticed by anyone else.

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