I've been editing Puzzler for around 20 years. My interest in puzzles was sparked when I spent a year in France as a student. With no TV, I was desperate for news from home so would buy British newspapers. Having devoured the news, I would try my hand at the cryptic crossword. I started off solving the odd clue – usually an anagram-based one – and as my year abroad progressed I became more familiar with the solving process and eventually found I could solve between half and three-quarters of the puzzle. It was interesting that I had to learn the language of the crossword in the same way I was learning the language of my host country.
What I love about cryptic crosswords is the fact that however familiar the solver might be with the 'rules' of crosswords and the twists and turns of the setter's ingenuity, there is always the possibility of being completely stumped.