New setters for Irish Times Crosaire crossword

‘Crossheir’ passes on the cryptic torch after 10 years

This Saturday marks the final Crosaire crossword set by Paul O’Doherty, who has set The Irish Times cryptic crossword for the past 10 years.

O’Doherty was only the third Crosaire setter for the newspaper. The original of the species, Derek Crozier, set the crossword for 67 years. Crosaire by Mac An Iarla, set by Roy Earle, followed for a short period before O’Doherty – Crosaire by Crossheir – took over in June 2012.

O’Doherty moves on to fresh challenges after 10 years, proud of his place in Crosaire ’s history, and comforted by the fact he will no longer be “waking up in the middle of the night” thinking of the 178 clues he had to devise for each week’s six crosswords. Providing a fair challenge to Crosaire devotees – “this is something people do in the morning with a cup of tea or over their lunch break” – was his main motivation during his years as a setter, as evidenced by the accompanying piece he has written to mark his sign-off. O’Doherty brings down the curtain on his stellar period with a special Crosaire by Crossheir in today’s edition.

And so to Crosaire setters numbers four and five. Two new setters, both Dubliners, take over from O’Doherty, alternating every day. On Monday, Tony Davis, or Crosaire by Dominic, gets the new era under way. On Tuesday, Niamh O’Connor, the first woman to set the cryptic crossword, will debut her Crosaire by Le Corsaire.