Listener Crossword: History

3. Later developments

After the war, the Listener Crossword evolved significantly in terms of fairness and editorial quality, but continued to feature the most challenging thematic cryptic crosswords. It acquired a reputation as one of the best crossword series and became a cultural institution in Britain. No other crossword series has been parodied both by Punch and the Not the Nine O’Clock News team.

When The Listener magazine ceased publication in 1991, it was inconceivable that a crossword series with such an enthusiastic following should die with it. Fortunately, The Times started publishing the series in their Saturday edition after a gap of a few months.

Online publication as part of The Times Crossword Club began in 2001. The Listener Crossword is one of the main attractions of its Premium service and the most enthusiastic solvers are keen to access the puzzle on Friday evening before the print edition is available the following morning.

Although the Listener series has spawned several imitators in national newspapers (eg, in The Sunday Telegraph and The Independent), its reputation is unrivalled and it is still “the world’s most difficult crossword”.

Back to History main page
  1. The first puzzles
  2. Grids and Clue formats
  3. Later developments
  4. Setters
  5. Editors
  6. Prizes
  7. Statistics
  8. Correspondence
  9. Miscellany
  10. Further information