Editor's tribute to cryptic king Roger

Record-breaking Shropshire crossword compiler Roger Squires is named as one of the Daily Telegraph's six greatest cryptic crossword setters in a new book.

Record-breaking Shropshire crossword compiler Roger SquiresRecord-breaking Shropshire crossword compiler Roger Squires is named as one of the Daily Telegraph's six greatest cryptic crossword setters in a new book.

"I'm still embarrassed about it - I'm the only one still living," said Mr Squires, of Ironbridge, who is better known to Telegraph and Guardian crossword addicts as Rufus, a pseudonym that is derived from his initials RFS.

The book, A Display of Lights (9), has been written by Val Gilbert, who for 30 years until her retirement about 18 months ago was the Telegraph's crossword editor.

"The main thing I was surprised and delighted about was she said over 30 years she could count on the fingers of both hands the number of complaints she had had about my crosswords."

The book's title, is incidentally, itself a crossword reference.

"Lights, if you look in a dictionary, is a solution which goes into a crossword," said Mr Squires, who is also Dante to crossword addicts on the Financial Times, and was Hodge on The Independent.

Dante was a magician who came to the Wolverhampton Hippodrome in 1940, inspiring Roger's interest in magic, and Hodge has several derivations, being dictionary compiler Samuel Johnson's cat, part of cat-lover Mr Squires's address (Hodge Bower), and also a nickname for Roger.

Gilbert says Mr Squires likens his crosswords to magic, "trying to entertain by misdirection."

Mr Squires also features in Sandy Balfour's new book A Clue to Our Lives - 80 Years of The Guardian Crossword, which describes him as something of a legend in the crossword world.

One Telegraph solver even used a Rufus puzzle to specify the terms of her will.

"They found the will written on the crossword, on the grid and the sides," explained Roger.

Although the will was contested, the courts accepted its legitimacy.

Now 76, Mr Squires continues to set crosswords "for the Telegraph every Monday, the FT every alternate Monday, the Guardian four out of five Mondays, the Glasgow Herald Mondays and Wednesdays, and other things like the Yorkshire Post Tuesdays and Thursdays."

And he has no intention of giving up just yet.

"We need the money, I'm afraid," he said.

By Toby Neal