We welcome submissions of puzzles from both established and aspiring setters. The fee for a published puzzle is £90.

Submission format

Submissions should ideally be made in electronic format. The preferred format is MS Word 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, with the solution grid, notes and clue explanations (if any) in a separate file, clearly identified. This will allow the testers (see below) to attempt each puzzle completely unseen. Setters of puzzles with themes that are date specific 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.

Please remember to include on all submissions your e-mail address for any correspondence related to your submission and your postal address for any subsequent payment.

Submission address

The e-mail address for submissions is If you are unable to submit electronically, postal submissions will be accepted, but this inevitably introduces the possibility of transcription errors. 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, 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, and then provide a ‘final’ version 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 and Shane where necessary before finalising the layout. The puzzle in this form is then sent to Chris for a final test solve. It is anticipated that puzzles will rarely need amendment following Chris’ testing, but we reserve that right. Once puzzles have successfully been through this entire process and are considered ready for publication, proof copies are sent to setters for their records and they are requested to inform us of any ‘errors’ they might spot.

Each issue will be created by selecting from the publication ready stock of puzzles. We make every effort to publish puzzles on a broadly FIFO basis and 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.