Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

About Listen With Others

This blog is for information regarding the Times Listener Crossword, which is published on the inside back page of the main section of The Times every Saturday.

The blog does not attempt to provide full solution paths or clue explanations, details of these being available at the official Listener site,, and in Gregson reviews at Derek Harrison’s Crossword Centre,

We currently have about a dozen frequent and sporadic bloggers, but if anybody feels that they would like to become a contributer to the blogs, then please contact myself or any member of the LWO team. In addition, any and all comments are welcome from solvers – all that we ask is that no mention is made of a puzzle until the solution has been published. Currently, this is three weeks after the puzzle is published.

The weblog started life as a continuation of Chris Lancaster’s Listener Weblog, which ran throughout 2006, and started out as “one man’s attempt to get through the Listener year unbeaten”. This quest continues.

Many other solvers also share this aim – and many submit solutions every week, all with the hope of a placing in the Listener statistics – as well as being in the handful of solvers in a year who achieve an all-correct record.

Listen With Others was founded at the start of 2007, and throughout 2007 and 2008, there was a team of regular bloggers, including Chris Lancaster, Joe Oppenheimer, Oli Grant, Duncan Horne, Erwin Hatch and Mike Draper, who posted blogs according to a rota system. During this time, blogs by setters also started to appear, giving accounts of how the puzzles are actually set. 2008 also saw guest bloggers appearing for the first time, ostensibly to provide a fresh approach to the write-ups, as well as to provide well-earned breaks for those who contributed on a regular basis.

Towards the end of 2008 it became apparent that the enthusiasm of some of the regular team was fading. However, the enthusiasm of readers to actually read about the solving process for the Listener crossword continued unabated.

The blog has been relaunched for 2009, with a new approach whereby members are encourage to join, and then to blog any puzzle that they see fit to write an entry about. Whether a member writes one or fifty-one entries during the year, all are welcome – and it’s hoped that a diverse membership will provide a diverse range of blogging styles. Failure on a puzzle is no barrier to becoming a member – indeed, accounts of failures may be of more interest to both inexperienced and experienced solvers alike.

One of the most exciting features of Listen With Others is the provision of setters’ blogs. Accounts of how the puzzles are actually set give an insight into the minds of those who create the puzzles that torture us each week, and hopefully provide inspiration for anybody who is thinking of becoming a Listener setter. Since no other site showcases these exposés, contributions will be welcome for puzzles in the Inquisitor and Enigmatic Variations series as well.

If you are interested in becoming a member, then please e-mail Dave Hennings at Becoming a member does not commit you to writing pieces for the site. Also, there’s no golden rule that says that any piece must be of a certain length or of a certain style. Historically, solvers’ blogs at Listen With Others have been long narrative entries that detail what is happening around the solver as he/she tackles the puzzle. Any entry is welcomed, however short or long, and in whatever style you like. All that’s asked is that no mention of a puzzle is made until after the solution is published.

If you’ve already e-mailed to state your wish to become a member, it is very much appreciated, and details of how to do so will be sent to you over the next couple of weeks. If you wish to be involved in the testing of the site, again, please e-mail or leave a comment somewhere on the site.

The migration of the old blog entries from the original Listen With Others site is underway, and these are accessible from the archive links on the left of the home page. This is a work in progress, and there are several issues to iron out on these archive entries – mainly to do with font inconsistencies, the corruption of apostrophes in the postings on migration, and entries being wrongly assigned as being setters’ blogs rather than solvers’ blogs. These are being addressed, so apologies for any difficulty in reading archive entries whilst the migration is being completed.

Unfortunately, Chris’s original blog at seems to have vanished. It’s a long shot, but if anybody has copies of any of these entries, then it would be great if you could let me know.

Chris Lancaster, 6th December 2008.
Updated Dave Hennings, 16 March 2009.

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