Born in Belsize Park, London (currently living back there, with my wife Carol), to Dutch parents.
Professionally, the last thirty years have been spent compiling crosswords for every tabloid in the land, particularly the Mirror two-speeds (for the full thirty years) and the Express Crusaders (just the last twenty), plus periodicals, trade magazines and advertising campaigns. I can reveal that the notorious last News of the World crossword, supposedly full of vitriolic references to Rebekah Brooks, contained nothing of the sort, having been submitted, by me, a full week before the shock announcement of the paper’s termination. Sad but true.
The previous decade saw me as a musician. It started with me being drafted into a pop band signed to Epic with a couple of singles in the charts, touring with the likes of Elton John and Shakin’ Stevens. There followed a number of rock and jazz ventures of my own, none of which I was happy with, and the decade ended with me as Donovan’s lead guitarist on the first of his comebacks – not a massively enjoyable experience but at least I can say I’ve played Wembley Arena.
At this point, in order to keep music enjoyable, it seemed sensible to restrict it to a hobby. It is still both. I still gig occasionally, currently as a Son of Sue and a Wild Uncle. I have also just completed a concerto for two guitars and chamber orchestra.
Plus I have had fun devising, over the years, a number of crossword related puzzles, mostly 3-D (serialised, manipulated 2-D and true 3-D), including a 3-D crossword in the style of 3-D noughts and crosses.