We welcome submissions of puzzles from both established and aspiring setters. The fee for a published puzzle is £100.

Submission format

Submissions should be in electronic format if possible.  (Postal submissions will be accepted, but this inevitably introduces the possibility of transcription errors.)

The preferred formats are .doc, .docx or .rtf, but other formats are acceptable as long as the text of the clues is editable. The blank grid, preamble and clues should be submitted in one file, preferably formatted to fit on a single A4 page.  The solution grid, notes and clue explanations (if any) should be submitted in a separate file, clearly identified. This will allow the testers (see below) to attempt each puzzle completely unseen.

Setters of puzzles with date-specific themes are advised to submit them as far in advance of desired publication as possible, with a ‘non-giveaway’ indication for the team to give priority to test solving them, so that they might achieve timely publication.

All submissions should include an e-mail address for any correspondence related to your submission and a postal address for any subsequent payment.

Submission address

The e-mail address for submissions is Postal entries can be sent to:

The Magpie
40 Emperors Gate
London SW7 4HJ

What to expect once you have submitted a puzzle

After acknowledgement of receipt by Jason, each puzzle will first be test solved by Mark. At this stage, if he considers it has a fatal flaw, he may reject it and inform the setter accordingly. More likely, he will forward it to Shane (possibly with minor amendments to preamble and clues) to test solve. Shane will, if necessary, correspond with the setter to agree any modifications.  The puzzle is then test solved by Jason and  a ‘final’ version of the puzzle is forwarded to AJ to lay out in publishable format.  AJ then does his own test-solve as a form of backup proofreading, and corresponds with Mark, Shane and Jason, where necessary, before finalising the layout. The puzzle in this form is then sent to Chris for a final test-solve. Once a puzzle has successfully been through this entire process and is considered ready for publication, a proof copy is sent to the setter for a final proofread and approval.

Each issue will be created by selecting from the publication-ready stock of puzzles. We make every effort to publish puzzles on a broadly first-in-first-out basis.  Notification of a puzzle’s publication date will be sent by email in the month prior to publication.  Setters will be paid for their puzzles around the time of publication.

Criteria for publication

The primary criterion for publishing a puzzle is that it is interesting and fun to solve, regardless of difficulty. Other criteria are originality, accessibility of the theme and soundness of clues.