The Puzzle Wizard — based in Brisbane, Australia, The Puzzle Wizard produces a variety of quarterly puzzle magazines, compiled and published by prolific cruciverbalist Greg Parker. I’m a big fan of Greg’s giant 35×27 crosswords, several of which are included in each issue. It’s always a mad rush to figure out the answer to 248 across before the next issue hits the shelves!
Some of my puzzles have appeared in the World of Crosswords publication. It was very exciting for me to see Lexoku, and a couple of my other creations, make their way onto the printed page. For that I’ve got Greg to thank.
The Crossword Shop — here you can buy and subscribe to The Puzzle Wizard’s magazines.
Countdown — the long-running words-and-numbers quiz from the UK’s Channel 4. It’s been going since I was two — I watched it regularly as a youngster. At its peak Countdown drew 4 million viewers, impressive for a 4:30pm slot. In 2003 I moved to New Zealand so I’ve been starved of crucial conundrums and “one from the top” ever since. Following the ever-popular Richard Whiteley’s untimely passing in 2005 there have been several changes of presenter but as of 2014 the show is still going strong. It even has a thriving forum frequented by previous and aspiring contestants.
You can play Countdown online against human opponents at apterous.org but beware, some of the players there are so good you wonder if they’re human at all, as I found out when I gave it a go.
David Astle (a.k.a. DA) has compiled cryptic crosswords for the two biggest Australian newspapers over many years. He’s also written several books, and in 2010 he combined the two to create the entertaining Puzzled: Secrets and Clues From a Life Lost in Words, part autobiography and part how-to guide for solving cryptic crosswords. Astle also appeared as lexicographer on Letters and Numbers, the Aussie version of Countdown which is sadly no more.
Crossword Unclued — an exceptionally good blog that, like David Astle’s book, teaches you all the tricks of the cryptic crossword-setting trade. With in-depth coverage of just about every concept imaginable, Crossword Unclued is an invaluable tool for anyone serious about solving or setting cryptics.