Australian Crosswords by David Stickley

*** Please check out my new Clue Hints Blog, where you can get help on crosswords such as The Stickler Weekly, a puzzle available in PDF or online, and Australian Financial Review's cryptic.

Looking back, 1977 was a big year for me. My English teacher introduced me to the world of cryptic crosswords. That may not seem all that important, but now, many years later, compiling cryptic puzzles is my profession. After going to university and working 12 years as a computer specialist I couldn't resist the opportunity to turn a hobby into something more.

I got my first break with the Australian Financial Review, who published my cryptic every Friday. After two and a half years, they dispensed with the weekly crossword, but never totally dispensed with my services. The weekend edition of the paper gave me the chance to publish a giant cryptic on holiday weekends, and that turned into a weekly cryptic in mid-2003. In April 1998 I started compiling cryptics for Sydney's Daily Telegraph, 6 days a week. A very different puzzle from the Financial Review's, as it has to reach the average Daily Telegraph reader and be solvable the same day. The Stickler was cancelled by News Ltd in July 2013 after 4786 puzzles (read the story here). I specialize in cryptic crosswords but am equally at home compiling theme puzzles (garden, music, food, medical, almost anything really), conventional or novelty puzzles.

For 5 years I co-edited and set up puzzles for the Australian Crossword Club. Some of Australia's top crossword setters are members and contribute crosswords, quizzes and relevant articles to the monthly magazine, Crozworld, which is sent to all members.

As with most other people in the crossword business, I have preferences when it comes to the dictionaries and other references I use. For a list of these and links to other puzzle-related stuff, click

In 1913 when the first crossword was published and proved very popular, the writers of the day wrote it off as a recreation that would never last. Today crosswords and puzzles still captivate the masses, with no sign of changing. If you want someone to compile a corporate crossword puzzle, a theme puzzle for a reunion, or you're thinking of adding a crossword to your magazine, .

David Stickley

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