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Author Focus

Jack Dunwoody
Biographical info

Jack Dunwoody was born in Comber, County Down, Northern Ireland in 1941 and was educated at Regent House School and Queens University, Belfast. His entire working career was spent in the IT industry, originally in his native Ireland, then in Tanzania and Kenya and finally in South Africa, where from 1975 to 2005.he held a number of managerial positions and directorships in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Jack married Kathleen in Ireland in 1963 before embarking on his first overseas posting in 1966. They live in Cape Town and have two children, Jonathan in Durban and Kellie in London, and three grandchildren, Bradley, Robin and Grace.

Jack’s first crosswords were encountered during schooldays and were invariably of the simple synonym variety, referred to as concise crosswords. Infrequent and private glances at the complicates clues of cryptic crosswords, however, did not offer a reasonable enough prospect of success. To an achievement-oriented youngster the risk of failure and the resultant blow to the ego count not be contemplated!

His conversion to cryptic crosswords was therefore somewhat of an accident during an Air Training Corps camp in 1958 at Hornchurch in Essex. The accident was missing the last train from London, the place was Trafalgar Square, the reason was trying to pass the time until morning. An English cadet, in the same dilemma, proceeded to do the cryptic crossword in a discarded newspaper and had enough time (all night) and interest (they only had one newspaper) to explain the quirks employed by the cryptic compiler to baffle the uninitiated. And so began a love affair with cryptic crosswords that has followed Jack around the world.

In 1994, having felt for some considerable time the need for somebody to try and explain cryptic crossword compilation and resolution, if only to introduce others to a pastime that costs so little but gives so much pleasure and satisfaction, Jack wrote The Penguin Guide to Cryptic Crosswords which was distributed in the UK, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Jack has been compiling the weekly cryptic crosswords for FINWEEK for the past four years and the prize weekly cryptic crosswords for the BOLANDER since its inception in May 2007.

His publications includes:

  • The Penguin Guide to Cryptic Crosswords (Penguin Books 1994)
  • Finweek Book of Phrases for Cryptic Crosswords (Pharos 2008)
  • The Finweek Book of Cryptic Crosswords (Pharos 2008)
  • The Finweek Book of Cryptic Crosswords 2 (Pharos 2008)