GEGS (9, 4)
October 21, 2011 8:11 PM   Subscribe

Derek Crozier was an idiosyncratic crossword setter who, under the pseudonym Crosaire, ran the Irish Times cryptic crossword singlehandedly for almost 70 years. He died in April 2010 at the age of 92, having compiled over 14000 daily crosswords. The last puzzle completed before his death, number 14605, runs in today's Irish Times.

The Crosaire crossword was known for its unorthodox approach to clue-setting, set apart from the traditional principles of Ximenes. Crozier claimed never to have solved a crossword himself, and to delight in the frustration he could cause in others. Dedicated solvers would gradually get used to his brand of shorthand and convention [PDF] (cleaned up PDF).

As blogger Antonia Hart asked, "what is going to happen when the Crosaire stockpile runs out?". His successor was announced this week as Roy Earle, who previously ran a Crosaire-focused blog. He promises to continue much of Crozier's conventions, while gently adding a contemporary flavour.

Try a sample Crosaire crossword here, if you like.
posted by rollick (6 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
On a more personal note, the end of the Crozier era has hit me a bit harder than I would have expected. I didn't realise how much of a comfort the daily challenge is until I read the notice yesterday.

Reading the newspaper and struggling with the crossword was one of the first "grown-up" things I did with my parents, and doing it on my own among the first signs of true adulthood. (I don't remember my first clue exactly, but the answer was STARING -- I can't forget that first "aha!").

Nowadays picking at the cryptic crossword is one of the few things my parents seem to do peacefully together, so I hope this Earle fella can suitably fill Crozier's boots.
posted by rollick at 8:13 PM on October 21, 2011

Great to see a post on this (and the title which brought a great smile to my face), being out of Ireland travelling long term an Irish Times crossword sub is one of the great grounding experiences that makes anywhere home. Long may it continue.
posted by nfg at 8:38 PM on October 21, 2011

Did you know a crozier is that staff with a curly end that The Pope and archbishops carry? That would have popped up in a few of his puzzles.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:10 PM on October 21, 2011

I admire the cryptic acknowledgement in the comments of the fourth link:
May he "pear est ce" (4,2,5)

And now I'm wondering what sort of inscriptions would be most appropriate on the tombstones of some of my favorite cryptic constructions (like Cox and Rathvon).

Also, For those of us not accustomed to Crosaire clues, can you dissect the GEGS clue for us?
posted by Cold Lurkey at 9:18 PM on October 21, 2011

I think Crozier himself once suggested "six down and two across"

The GEGS clue I actually doubt is from Crosaire -- it was the first thing that leapt to mind as a cryptic clue, but seems to be more widespread in the UK from googling. If anyone wants to work it out for themselves, don't read this small writing here: scrambled eggs
posted by rollick at 9:24 PM on October 21, 2011

...and I see the "six down" joke is actually from the link announcing Earle. No wonder it came to mind so handily.
posted by rollick at 9:28 PM on October 21, 2011

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