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Saga Crossword November 2014

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flan | 13:09 Tue 07th Oct 2014 | Crosswords
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Hello - I have had the pleasure and privilege of setting the monthly Saga Prize crossword for the last 17 years under my setter's name of 'Cullen'. Quite apart from the honour, it has been fun watching the questions and answers by Saga crossword aficionados on this blog. May I please say 'Well Done' to all of you! Unfortunately, the bean counters have been at work at Saga, seeking to enhance the magazine's and the group's profitability with the result that from January 2015 all the Saga puzzle pages are moving across en bloc to the Puzzlermedia plc people. Consequently, December's prize crossword is due to be my last and I am going to lose my mandate through no fault of my own. It has appeared that many of you have enjoyed my setting style down the years and I would also like to say a big 'thank you' for that too. I have no firm indication of the standard which the Saga Prize crossword is going to be in future but suspect that it may well become another 'Times', 'Independent', 'Guardian' or even 'Telegraph' all of which are rather below the sort of cryptic I had always sought to create. So I would like to take this opportunity to say - "If you don't much like the sort of prize crossword you are going to be offered from January 2015 onwards, then do please write to The Editor at Saga (her name is Katy Bravery and she's very nice indeed - it wasn't she who is responsible for the forthcoming change - it's the bean counters!). If she receives enough grumbles from any of you who are going to be unhappy with the new crossword style, I might get my mandate back. If not, so be it". Thank you so much to all you solvers whose handles have become quite familiar from scanning the blog over recent years and I have to also say how impressed I have been with many sparkling answers. Please forgive this cri de coeur at probably saying goodbye after 17 years. With best wishes to you all. Cullen.

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Hi Cullen
For my sins I spend much time doing various crosswords and particularly enjoy the cryptic variety. I have always considered the Saga to be a major challenge and a source of much satisfaction upon completing. You certainly have a cryptic mind and your fine contribution each month will be much missed. Whoever you compile for in the future will be the gainers and perhaps one day you will drive me mad again!! Good luck and thanks.
Cullen

This is so sad to hear. I have enjoyed your crosswords - though perhaps enjoyed is the wrong word for the angst it has sometimes driven me to - for the past 17 years.

I shall be writing to the Editor expressing my hopes that the new crossword compilers will not dumb them down. Like you I fear for the worst and anticipate writing again in the future to complain about the loss of quality.
i was devastated to read this as in our house the Saga crossword as always been regarded as the ultimate . Despite bagging two Telegraph pen prizes and numerous runner up prizes (including Sagas) the first prize for yours has always eluded me. Your clues are second to none - vastly superior to any other and my somewhat aged brain has to truly think round corners but that's all part of the challenge! You just can't go! I shall have to rethink quite seriously now about renewing my subscription.
I, and other people I know only subscribe to Saga magazine for the crossword, so if they get rid of you they will lose a fair amount of subscribers. I shall certainly complain, and hope to see you back before my subscription ends or I shall cancel it. Best wishes to you and good luck!
Thanks, Cullen, for keeping the ageing grey cells still working! (And thanks also to all ABers without whose help I would be stuck very often!) I'll wait to pass judgement until I see what the new crossword will look like, but in the meantime hope you can find somewhere else to publish. Thank you again
Many thanks for all those fiendish clues-Im thrilled to bits if I manage one!
So nice to have such an individual style of crossword to challenge the little grey cells. Your crossword is the main reason I subscribed to the magazine - the new lot will have to pull out all the stops to try to match you. Good luck.
If there's no cryptic crossword of the calibre that you have been writing - I too will cancel my subscription.
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Cullen the responses above say it all - thanks
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This is to say a big 'thank you' for all the nice posted comments which have been really very much appreciated. Best wishes (and Compliments of The Season!) to you all.
Cullen

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Saga Crossword November 2014

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