The Apex Letters

 The Apex Letters

From 1978 to 2005, cryptic crossword enthusiast, Derek Harrison, exchanged letters with his favourite crossword setter, the retired carpenter Eric Chalkley, known as ‘Apex’.

Derek, founder of the Crossword Centre,  kept every letter from Apex and in this book, he has recorded the correspondence to tell the story of their friendship and give a unique perspective on the world of crosswords.

The Apex Letters begins with Derek drawing illustrations for Apex's Christmas puzzles and continues with the creation of the Apex website, the award of the MBE and, finally, the obituary that he wrote on Eric's passing.

Derek Harrison, says, “A fortuitous letter to a favourite crossword setter was the start of a long correspondence with Eric Chalkley, who had the pseudonym Apex. The cartoon that I sketched and sent to him led to me drawing lots of illustrations for his puzzles.

“I kept all his letters and reading them again, one day, I had the idea of publishing a selection of them. I thought that, as J B Morton had created in ‘The Adventures of Mr Thake’, readers could follow the letters and work out the rest of the story.

“For anyone with an interest in the history of crosswords and their creation, I think this book offers a personal behind-the-scenes snapshot of one of its kindest and cleverest protagonists. Eric was a kind and lovely man and I hope that his personality will shine through in his letters.”

The book contains 90 pages of letters, illustrations and original photographs; an essay that Eric wrote but was never published; and 8 of Apex's crosswords that are mentioned in the letters. 

To be published for sale on 5 July 2023. 

Cost £8 plus £2 post and packaging UK (£6 Europe, Canada) (£7 USA)

By bank transfer.
Sort code: 11-05-69
Account:  00252425
By PayPal

Limited edition, signed by the author on request. For orders and payment details email

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