Tom Johnson

A tribute to Christopher Brougham

Credit: iStock images/Spauln

Christopher Brougham has been a Spectator crossword setter for well over 25 years and his puzzle in this week’s issue is his final regular compilation for our series. After a serious illness, he has retired from the Bar as a KC and feels it is time to take things more easily.

Chris began solving crosswords in the Evening Standard, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph as a teenager. While studying law at Oxford in the 1960s, he mastered the Times crossword and later participated in the first Times crossword championships. In 1980 he discovered the Azed clue-writing competition in the Observer and has competed in these monthly challenges ever since. In 1988 he was made a QC and in the following year his first cryptic puzzle was published in the Crossword Club magazine. He has since contributed crosswords to the Listener series that appears in the Times each Saturday and the Church Times, as well as this magazine.

Chris originally submitted a sample puzzle to the Spectator offices in the mid-1990s. The timing coincided with Mass’s imminent retirement from the crossword scene on his departure to pastures new in Spain, and Chris was offered the opportunity to replace him. Since then he has compiled 296 puzzles for the magazine, 227 as Dumpynose, and the remainder as Pabulum. For many years, the Spectator rota worked on a nine-weekly cycle in which Chris shared a slot with Lavatch.

Chris’s nom de plume was Dumpynose (a lovely anagram of ‘pseudonym’) when he made his debut as a setter with puzzle 1247 entitled ‘The Pits’ in the issue of The Spectator dated 10 February 1996. He evolved into Pabulum in May 2016.

His contribution has been very personal as he has regularly offered crosswords in a thematic series, compiling a number of crosswords in each of the groups which he called ‘Somewhere’, ‘Problem’, ‘Song’ and ‘Poem’.

We are pleased to learn that Chris will continue to appear occasionally as a valued member of the crossword compiling team, so he will be able to achieve his goal of 300 puzzles in the series!