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Meet the Editor: Tim Doble

Puzzler is 50! To celebrate the special anniversary, isubscribe spoke with the editor, Tim Doble about what makes Puzzler different from other puzzle magazines and how Puzzler pioneered sudoku into the UK!

Puzzler is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, why do you think the magazine has remained so popular all these years?

The concept of Puzzler is timeless. That’s a fairly grand statement, but it’s true: Puzzler is the magazine equivalent of an evening by the fireplace with a good book. It’s like an old friend. The diversity of puzzles within the pages mean there’s something for every kind of solver, whether you like a casual wordsearch or you want to spend an hour figuring out a cryptic crossword. It’s that combination of familiarity, quality, intrigue and competition with the self that I think keeps our readers coming back for more. Most of all, it’s fun. There’s an enjoyment, a mindfulness in solving a puzzle by hand that just can’t be recreated digitally. Plus, I’ve been blessed with a lot of talented predecessors who have edited Puzzler over the last 50 years – the success of Puzzler couldn’t have been achieved without their extraordinary talents.

What makes Puzzler different from other puzzle magazines?

Not that I’m biased, or anything, but… Puzzler is the original and best. Our finger’s always on the pulse: we test out new puzzle types, we listen to the readers and we work with extremely talented contributors and illustrators. We have some of the finest puzzling minds in the country working on this magazine – the quality of the puzzles themselves really can’t be beaten (and as a self-confessed puzzle nerd, believe me, I’ve worked through a lot of the puzzle magazines out there!) Puzzler is also ever-changing. Back in the ‘70s when Puzzler was first published, nobody had heard of a sudoku puzzle and we were fortunate enough to help pioneer them in the UK when they became popular in the early ‘00s. There’s always a new puzzle explosion on the horizon – just look at Wordle! We’ve been publishing a printed version of Wordle for over 20 years, so clearly we knew a good puzzle when we saw it…

Each issue features 125 puzzles, how are these compiled?

Nobody ever asks me this question so I’m really geekily excited to tell you: it varies! I create a lot of the puzzles by hand (I’ll print off the blank grids and, well, get the old grey matter working to fill them in), others are regularly provided by expert contributors and some are created using our own specialist program (and to give it that personal touch, I edit the clues too). We have a wonderful illustrator, too – I can’t tell you how she makes such beautiful images and puzzles (I’m inclined to say ‘magic’) but I thoroughly appreciate it.

What can subscribers expect from future issues? Why subscribe?

Well, for the 50th anniversary issue (on sale November 9th!) we have a very exciting celebrity guest editor, so absolutely stay tuned for that. Subscribing’s a great option: you don’t have to worry about your local supermarket running out of copies and the magazine gets delivered straight to your door. It’s win-win-win. We always have truly excellent competition prizes throughout our magazines (the prizes tend to exceed £6,000 per issue – I’m sad I’m ineligible, to be honest) and it really is a joy when we hear back from competition winners saying how the prizes have changed their lives. Subscribers never miss out on those opportunities plus the team create an exclusive batch of puzzles every month which get emailed out to subscribers, so visit to subscribe to your favourite!

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