Crossword compiler 'Araucaria' turns 90

John Graham

The crossword compiler Reverend John Graham MBE, better known as Araucaria, is 90 today. Revd Graham read Classics at King's until his studies were interrupted by the war. He joined the RAF in 1941 but returned to King's after the war to read Theology.

He wrote his first crossword for The Guardian in July 1958 and became a regular contributor of cryptic crosswords. In 1970 The Guardian allowed crossword writers to use pseudonyms, and Revd Graham chose Araucaria, the Latin name for the monkey puzzle tree.

His clues often include long anagrams, a celebrated example being 'Poetical scene has surprisingly chaste Lord Archer vegetating (3, 3, 8, 12)'. The answer is 'The Old Vicarage, Grantchester', an anagram of 'chaste Lord Archer vegetating'. 'The Old Vicarage, Grantchester' is the title of a Rupert Brooke poem and is also the home of Lord Archer, who at the time was lying low after being involved in a sex scandal.

Revd Graham is one of the country's best known and respected crossword setters. The college would like to take this opportunity to send him all good wishes for his birthday.

16 February 2011