Guardian crossword setter, 'Araucaria', dies aged 92

November 26, 2013 6:06 PM

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Guardian crossword setter, 'Araucaria', dies aged 92

A Guardian crossword setter, who used one of his own puzzles to announce he had cancer, has died at the age of 92.

The Reverend John Graham, who wrote crosswords under the name Araucaria for more than 50 years, died in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

In a crossword in January, he said he had 18 down of the 19, being treated with 13-15. The answers were "cancer", "oesophagus" and "palliative care".

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said he was "the greatest crossword setter".

Mr Graham, whose pseudonym, Araucaria, is the latin name for monkey puzzle tree, told the Guardian he had left the clue - published in the paper on 11 January - because it "seemed the natural thing to do somehow".

It had first appeared in the puzzle magazine 1 Across, which Mr Graham founded in 1984.

Oxford-born Mr Graham, from Somersham, Cambridgeshire, also set crosswords for publications including the Financial Times and the Church Times.

He read classics at King's College, Cambridge, before he joined the RAF in 1942.

He returned to the college after World War Two to read theology and was ordained to the Church of England in 1948.


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