The King Cricket Retired Cricketer From Several Years Back Crossword

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PDF version here.

Answers here. (.xls format)

Official King Cricket crossword compiler, Bert, writes…

I was in a bar recently when I was accosted by three burly toughs. “Oi,” they said. “Aren’t you a contributor to that King Cricket website?” I confirmed that I was. They sat threateningly around me. One of them adjusted his cravat.

“Listen chummy,” the especially nasty one said. “You’re going to do exactly what you’re told, and nobody will get hurt. We’ve been visiting that website from before the 2013 King Cricket Ashes and Priestly Vestments Summer Crossword, and have appreciated the occasional cruciverbalist respite from the usual dreary nonsense. But there’s been no crossword for several years now, and we are starting to get… restless. And when we get restless, well…”

He left it hanging menacingly. One of his friends told him to put it away.

“Well,” he continued. “Let’s just say this. We might get angry, and you wouldn’t like us when we’re angry. We want a crossword, and we want one that for no apparent reason has specific reference, a theme if you will, to a retired cricketer from a few years back.” And with that, he finished his Pinot Grigio and left, taking his oafish chums with him.

Now I’m not a man to give in to threats and violence. What follows therefore is a pure coincidence. It happens to be a crossword, one that has a specific reference to a retired cricketer from a few years back. But, and I cannot stress this enough, there IS an apparent reason for this, which is that I saw him on TV a couple of days ago. Ha, in your face ruffians!

Of course, I appreciate that not everybody does cryptic crosswords, and that therefore some of the conventions and terminology might be confusing to the point of indecipherability. That’s your problem. Just learn how to do them, for god’s sake. Then you too can peer condescendingly over the top of your newspaper at the hoi-polloi, confident in your self-appointed smugness, oblivious to everyone else’s disdain.

I will give you one bit of help, though. This crossword has a theme, which is the answer to 21 across. The references to 21 in the other clues relate to this answer. Therefore, getting this one first is probably a good idea. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a complicated clue. Just build it up in pieces. Take little parts of the clue, sometimes individual words, and see if they can form part of an answer. Look for words like “around”, “after” and “backwards” as instructions for where and how to put the answer-pieces. When you have guessed at a possible answer, see if you can fit the rest of the clue to it (this is how most cryptic clues are solved, with a guess first). And remember, words in English often have several meanings, and the setter (me) goes to great lengths to hide the one that is relevant (e.g. flower often means river).

And one other piece of “assistance” – 1, 7a, 4, 34, 33, 35, 7d, 21, 9, 2, 29, 27.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. I’m sorry Bert, but I for one am getting tired of these piss-easy two dimensional crossword puzzles. Why just stick with “Across” and “Down”? How about adding that “Into” and perhaps then graduating to “Beyond”?

    1. I think you are pulling my leg a little here, DC, hmm? As everybody knows, a 3D crossword in which the entries intersect along a third dimension would be EASIER than a 2D crossword, not harder, because there would be an additional source of information for each word. More challenging would be a 1D crossword, although strictly speaking this would have to be called a “word”.

      A 4D crossword would be easier still, except if the fourth dimension is time. Having answers that only intersect at a point in time as well as space would make sending it in a tricky concept.

      For real beginners therefore, I am working on an crossword with eight spacial dimensions, based on the intersecting points created by two separate tesseracts. KC can publish it here, assuming he has the 8D upgrade package from the site host.

  2. I hear KC has just mastered the 4D torus and is looking into other topologies for the website. It is only a matter of time before this site actually becomes interesting.

    1. As a special present just for you DC, I will do a toroidal crossword. I just need the crossword above and some glue.

  3. Sorry Bert, you lost me at ‘I was in a bar recently’. I refuse to believe that you would ever be seen out in public, never mind in a casual social setting surrounded by alcohol assorted snacks.

    1. Well, after my encounter with the hoodlums I mentioned, I won’t be going into any “bars” again for quite some time.

  4. I’ve spent all morning trying to find answers to the clues that were exclusively the surnames of retired cricketers from several years back.

    How foolish of me.

  5. Yes!! I’ve done it (I think?) Awesome skills Bert. The assistance was both useful and, more importantly very clever and funny. I liked a lot of those clues. Thanks very much!

  6. I haven’t done it all yet (or possibly ever), but I managed 21 across. I was excited when I referred back to the final ‘clue’ and saw that there were four words afterwards – somewhat more downcast when I realised they couldn’t be 3,7,2,5 letters long.

  7. Ooh. Genuinely thank you Bert. I shall do this with my sister, over Christmas.
    My apologies for the lack of smart arsed cynicism in this appeal.

  8. I am so sorry to learn that people tried to bully you in a bar, Bert. That’s simply awful. The Pinot Grigio guy in particular sounds disgusting.

    Must be something about Manchester bars – I visited one such on my most recent visit to Manchester and witnessed a similar-looking incident on an otherwise convivial evening:

    I feel inclined to boycott the puzzle on principle, but your explanation thoroughly convinced me that the emergence of the puzzle was entirely unconnected with your unfortunate bar room tussle.

    21 across has popped into my head, which is jolly decent of him. I wouldn’t want to meet him in a bar with a Pinot Grigio in his hand, I might tell you.

    I share Thesmudge’s enthusiasm to do the crossword justice when things quieten down for the festive season, so I do rather hope that KC’s suggestion that he’ll publish the answer “in a few days” becomes “two or three weeks” to enable more of us to play. This week and next – no chance in my case.

    Well writ, Bert.

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