A crossword for chess fans

by CHESS Magazine
11/25/2021 – The World Championship match will start very soon, and is scheduled to run over 14 exciting games. When one of the rounds is over, says CHESS Magazine, London, why not enjoy a chess-themed crossword composition. We reprint the puzzle here, without the solution (which we will add at the end of the match). Maybe our readers can solve the puzzle communally, in the feedback section below the article?

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You can print out the crossword, and the clues, to make it more convenient to solve with paper and pen. Feel free to post individual word solutions in the feedback section below.

The above crossword was taken from Chess Magazine December 2021, with kind permission.

CHESS Magazine was established in 1935 by B.H. Wood who ran it for over fifty years. It is published each month by the London Chess Centre and is edited by IM Richard Palliser and Matt Read. The Executive Editor is Malcolm Pein, who organises the London Chess Classic.

CHESS is mailed to subscribers in over 50 countries. You can subscribe from Europe and Asia at a specially discounted rate for first timers, or subscribe from North America.


CHESS Magazine was established in 1935 by B.H. Wood who ran it for over fifty years. It is published each month by the London Chess Centre and is edited by IM Richard Palliser and Matt Read.


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DrBob64 DrBob64 11/26/2021 02:41
I guess I'm supposed to make Staunton from S(mall)+ Taunton in fact...

Also thanks to David for sharing his composition with us - graceful crossword puzzles take considerable skill and effort to compose.
DrBob64 DrBob64 11/26/2021 02:11
And, of course, David hid his name in Avid Old Swan
DrBob64 DrBob64 11/26/2021 02:09
SPOILER ALERT: I think I have the rest.

19 ac is Batteries
15 d is Playable
22 d is Closed
21 ac is Match
25 ac is Staunton (apparently there is such a town in Gloucestershire)
18 d is Tension
27 ac is Move Order
MadMox MadMox 11/26/2021 12:11
@Frederic: yes, silly me, that would be UNPIN.
Frederic Frederic 11/26/2021 12:05
@MadMox: very close, except that "untie" is not really a chess term. I have added a PNG of the currently submitted solutions.
MadMox MadMox 11/26/2021 11:41
3 down is UNTIE: peacekeepers (UN) + hold fast (TIE) = restore mobility.
MadMox MadMox 11/26/2021 11:07
20 down is TACTIC: Channel Islands backtracking (IC) after TACT (diplomacy), and it's a ploy.
Frederic Frederic 11/26/2021 09:58
Wow! This I didn't expect. Almost solve the whole darn thing! I will post the current stand in PNG around noon.
The composer of the puzzle is David Lawson. I hope he doesn't mind us solving it before the December issue of CHESS Magazine is out.
@improving: you have done cryptics before.
@perl2ruby: Absolutely right. And I thought I was the only one who could crack it. You guys are all professionals.
Incidentally, I showed the puzzle to a super-talent, and he has solved only one clue so far (21 across). He is 15 and a full GM. But has never seen anything like a Cryptic.
geeker geeker 11/26/2021 06:02
26 was most difficult IMO: ALBIN(o). I'm a cryptic crossword buff and finished the puzzle quickly except for 24 and 26. Most clues were pretty easy except for the chessplayer names. 25, STAUNTON, is the other one.
geeker geeker 11/26/2021 05:59
24 is a tough one, BARCZA. BA (graduate) + anag. of CZAR.
perl2ruby perl2ruby 11/26/2021 04:55
@Frederic - "It would be capital if Anne came back after six." - should be vienna ("vi" for six, "enna" is anne came back)
marifem marifem 11/26/2021 04:38
10 accross is QUEENING
impr0ving impr0ving 11/26/2021 03:43
Half of a seventh-rank pair? (6,3) I needn't be one about solving all the remaining clues. <Sigh> If only I could play chess as well. Thank you for the puzzle!
impr0ving impr0ving 11/26/2021 03:19
2 Down is DEFENCES: The letters in FED written in an upward direction, with = followed by, awful/anagram of SCENE
4 Down is DIAGRAM. Help = AID, little Margaret = MARG, and return is a standard cryptic instruction to spell things backward: DIA + GRAM
7 Across is MATE IN SIX, anagram of MAIN EXITS
10 Across is QUEENING. The royal, QUEEN, sits before an anagram/cocktail of GIN.
impr0ving impr0ving 11/26/2021 03:05
5 Down is [Jan Hein] DONNER, start with DINNER, substitute the O in Oscar for me = I.
9 Down is BLUNDER, anagram of BUNDLE R
11 Across is LONDON, venue of the London Classic
impr0ving impr0ving 11/26/2021 02:57
14 Down is RETREAT, double definition.
16 Across is CENTRE, anagram of RECENT.
17 Down is TRAINERS, the letters of which are found in RAREST ORGANIZATION
23 Down is MATED, anagram of TAMED
Mike Magnan Mike Magnan 11/26/2021 02:31
Calrsen will win. He;s just too tough to beat,
marifem marifem 11/26/2021 02:27
1 down is CASUAL.
Cu-copper, As-arsenic, Al-aluminum. Insert As between Cu then add Al
Frederic Frederic 11/26/2021 01:01
For inexperienced readers, here's a very nice explanation of how the "cryptic crosswords" on the various Times newspapers work: https://tlmb.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Sixy_Explainer.mp4?_=1. I've been solving them since my early teens. I still remember one clue I was particularly proud of solving: "It would be capital if Anne came back after six." Chapeau to anyone who can give me the six-letter solution.
Frederic Frederic 11/26/2021 12:44
Correct, correct, correct, correct, and correct. Very impressive! We have crossword puzzle experts. Catching the puns and anagrams, and providing explanations. Thanks and keep it up. I will add the solved clues above.
Nick B Nick B 11/25/2021 11:03
13 across is Pawn Break
Petek Petek 11/25/2021 09:28
8 Across is "sound" (double definition).
Nick B Nick B 11/25/2021 08:58
And 6 down is “annotate” (another anagram)
Nick B Nick B 11/25/2021 08:57
12 across is “clock” (clock can also mean to notice and is the timekeeper)
Petek Petek 11/25/2021 08:33
The answer to 15 Across is "passer". Doctor can mean "to modify," suggesting an anagram of "spares".