Your Stickler Story

For a while I offered a free Stickler Cap for people posting on this blog. Many took the opportunity to tell their Stickler stories, which are listed below. If you have a Stickler tale, feel free to email me.

Your email address will not be shown on posts. Any details collected stay with me.

The Stickler

40 Responses to Your Stickler Story

  1. Raoul says:

    I found Stickler at an Australian Crossword Club luncheon, 20 years ago. He followed me home and I asked mum if we could keep him. He has been part of my crossword solving fun and frustration ever since. Best daily crossword in Australia: hands down.

    • David Stickley says:

      You are a winner Raoul. I can just see the cap on your head now.

      The Stickler

  2. Ross McCallum says:

    Someone once said to me when they saw me struggling over your crossword,”My you’re a STICKLER for punishment!”
    So if the cap fits shouldn’t I wear one?

    • David Stickley says:

      Well done Ross. Nice wordplay. I’ll be in contact to get your address. You are a winner!

      The Stickler

  3. Raoul says:

    Perpetual Happy Hour at the Harold Park Hotel for anyone wearing their Stickler cap.

  4. Anne says:

    I have been religiously doing ‘The Stickler’ everyday for ages now. Sometimes it takes me until the following day to solve it (sleeping on some of the clues). I do this to keep my brain active, hoping I won’t have problems with old age.

    • David Stickley says:

      Congratulations Anne, you are a winner! Thanks for solving The Stickler. I’ll email you for your contact details soon.

      David Stickley
      The Stickler

  5. Bob Sutherland says:

    Thanks for the cap David; wearing it with pride …

    Loved the word last Sunday (bastinado) … didn’t know what it meant by juxtaposed with ‘tenderfoot’ should have given me a clue. Intentional or an accident?

  6. Jim says:

    The Stickler has always been beyond me . . . achieving about 80% on a good day. Very frustrating as I usually solve the other puzzles in the Daily Telegraph. Let’s see how I go now I have decided to consult this website.

    Cheers, Jim

    • David Stickley says:

      Hi Jim,

      I’d say The Stickler is “just out of reach” rather than “beyond you” if you can solve 80%. I would expect the cryptic in any paper to be the hardest crossword to solve. Many cryptic solvers are “self-taught” and this will always leave aspects of cryptics that aren’t fully understood.

      Feel free to quiz me on how any clue works – together we can fill in the gaps and get you to 100%


      The Stickler

    • David Stickley says:

      Keep plugging away Jim. To encourage you I’ll be sending out a special Stickler Cap. I’ll contact you via email for your address soon.


      The Stickler

  7. Les says:

    Hi. Love the Stickler. Back to it, see ya.

    • David Stickley says:

      A man of few words Les. I love those who love The Stickler. I’ll be in contact soon to get your postal address. You are a Stickler cap winner!

      David Stickley

  8. John Holstein says:

    My wife & I do the Stickler together, so it’s a bit like a mental threesome I suppose. We manage to complete it once every now and then. Sometimes one of us will complete it alone, but most times you beat us. Great way to improve the vocabulary as well. We have only succumbed to the website on a couple of occasions & even then it is often an incomplete conclusion. Great mental exercise.

  9. Julie Lendrum says:

    Hi David
    I have been attempting The Stickler for a while now and really enjoy the challenge! My dad passed away a year ago and at 79 years old, was still teaching Cryptic Crosswords at U3A. His love of these puzzles was passed on to me and I am encouraging my three sons to ‘think in different ways’ like their Pop did!

  10. Les says:

    Almost completed on e puzzle but not to be. Back to it, see ya!

  11. lea pustetto says:

    We drive ourselves nuts trying to solve and my mate at work.clue ….dubboes

  12. terry kerr says:

    Hi David I rang you on the abc one night ad told you that my wife thought you were sick in the head with your clues and i was just as sick for trying to do them,please allow me a hat so i can sit in front of her and study the grid. ps i think your funniest clue was sick richard visits clinic something something and the answer was gonorrhoea. cheers mate Terry Kerr

  13. Jenny says:

    Hi David,
    Have completed Saturday’s stickler. I believe I have the correct answer for 17a but can’t equate the clue to the answer. Is the girl Catherine and are you the heel? I can’t help wearing my thinking cap. Look forward to the Stickler everyday, even though it is challenging and frustrating at times. Cheers

    • David Stickley says:

      Hi Jenny,

      Thanks for contributing to the blog.

      17-across Circular window from boat, the girl and I changed with keel over (9,5)

      Definition: “Circular window”
      “boat” = cat
      “the girl” = her
      “I” = I
      “changed” = new
      “keel over” = heel

      Hope that all makes sense!


  14. Les says:

    Dear David, I know you are busy constructing Sticklers for us, the plebs, but I would like to get my hat as those disbelievers at the rubbidy think I am full of it and there is no such thing. Like the Unicorn. My address is 66 Robinson Street Riverstone 2765. Thank you and kind regards, Les.

  15. Drover's Dog says:

    Cap please to compensate for the damage your offering of today caused.
    I will explain to the readers of your wonderful site that you and I have met previously and you are aware that The Stickler is part of my daily routine as a commuter on City Rail.
    My modus operandi is to commence the puzzle whilst city bound at Wolli Creek railway station and to attempt to complete by arrival at Town Hall following self imposed rules of firstly doing clues in order of appearance ( starting at the first across clue and continuing in order).
    Sometimes as today I need to confirm answers when I arrive at work and having inserted PANGAEA as my answer of an across clue which I had worked out as the likely answer from the wordplay, I searched for it on Google which confirmed your definition.
    Now, being an inquisitive fellow I clicked on an Image on Googles search result page and suddenly my Windows 8 anti-Virus went wild advising me that I had Trojans, Viruses and all sorts of Malware affecting my computer. Not having had my one and only cup of coffee for the day I clicked O.K for the program to get rid of the pestilence and just as finger came of mouse button realised that we don’t have Windows 8 . Big OOOOooops.
    IT department were great, colleagues in my team not so, as I had no computer for an hour or so plus having to spent most of the day setting it back up after IT cleaned it.
    The coffee cup you presented me with a few years ago does not get used and sits in prominent position, however, the cap will definitely by used … pulled down over my head as I walk past IT on a daily basis.


    Thanks for the enjoyment your puzzles have given me over the last number of years…. keeps an old bloke like me on the ball

    • David Stickley says:

      Great post John. I’ll be in contact offline soon to get your postal address.

      Thanks for your contribution.

      The Stickler

  16. Les Markham says:

    Dear David, Thank you for the hat and the proof needed for the disbelievers at the local. They call me CSI now due to the caption on the hat “I SOLVE”. Anyway, thanks again for the hat and my 15 minutes. Cluelessly Les

  17. jesse loveridge says:

    I’m a mad stickler fan who became involved about 7yrs ago. I used to sit outside in the smoking area of my local bowling club, nice cold beer, a fag [no more] and pen and paper and off I’d go “CROSSWORDS.” Most of my mates thought I had a problem and basically left me alone, they had their “bowls talk”being far more important to them. Well! I didn’t have a problem ie until having conquered the daily crosswords I decided to see what the Stickler was all about. I needed a new challenge, even the big one in the Tele was becomming too easy. I had no idea what I was in for, even on seeing the
    answers I was having a problem as to HOW?!!! I did it all the hard way and over a period of time I began to get the drift. It’s extremely satisfying to solve the clues,every single one, because it meams nothing if you know the answer is right but don’t understand WHY!! I sometimes wonder how you manage to compile these puzzles? How do you know if you’ve made the clue difficult enough when you already know the answer? To me that seems just as difficult as solving them. Anyway keep up the good work David and I look forward to many more challenges each day. I’m completing roughly 1 in 5 but there’s usually 2 or 3 I get stuck on. but that’s what’s good about it they’re never the same. Regards Jesse
    Ps By the way that little corner in that smoking area where I used to sit alone is now full of STICKLER NUTS!!! See what you’ve started. There’s now 8 of us and more to come. LOVE IT!

  18. Jen McKenzie says:

    Hello David. I have only been a stickler for a couple of months – started off getting one or two answers – and have now graduated to working it all out on most days. Woohoo. However, I have put on 3 kilos, stopped cleaning my house, and hardly get any sleep or exercise other than rocking my chair. Can you advise if this is normal? P.S. I think you are brilliant.

    • Jen McKenzie says:

      Hello David – I am now the proud owner of a Stickler hat and have it on now as I keep working on yesterday’s Stickler. I really appreciate the gift and it will inspire me to maintain. Thank you.
      Jen McK.

  19. Rob Milton says:

    G’day David,

    Ive been doing the Stickler for a couple of years now, an absolute priority in my daily grind; my day is not complete until it’s solved. I’ve just joined the ACC and look forward to meeting up on the 25th November. I’d be proud to wear a Stickler cap. Keep up the good work.

    Regards, Milt

  20. Terry says:

    Changed over to Stickler from Times cryptic in Australian when I stopped buying Australian after they cancelled The Wry Side and Soapbox. I thought Stickler would be easy like Women’s Weekly, but it is difficult yet very fair. I am a Stickler convert.

  21. Stephanie Page says:

    David you are an inspiration to me. I’m an entirely self taught cryptic crossword addict, so it has taken a lot of patient saving of the paper to see the answers and figure out The rules. This probably has made me appreciate solving more than if someone had taught me. I used to do the Times because we got the Australian, but we’ve cancelled that now, and being from a one newspaper town (Adelaide) – you can’t possible see the Sunday paper and the week day paper as different – I only have the Independent and the Saturday (yours) crossword to look forward to. The Independent I find frustrating, as it is often a bit too English in its clues for mine. Yours however I love. And if I’m really stuck there’s your extra clues to go to on line. Thank you for making my Saturday. Ad thank you for sending me your puzzle book, which is invaluable when we travel. I save it up for then. Any caps left, for sitting in the sun on a Saturday morning with the crossword? With admiration Stephanie

  22. Terry says:

    Hi David

    Cap arrived and I am wearing it. Always finish Stickler before I go to sleep, although I may use laptop to check out a few remaining possible words or anagrams if I am getting tired.

    Thanks very much.


  23. John Bartram says:

    Hi David

    My mother has been doing your Saturday cryptic in the Advertiser as long as I can remember. We had to start buying the paper so that we could help with 23 down or 5 across when she phoned on Sunday. She turns 100 in June and is still doing your puzzle with enthusiasm.

    I wondered if you might like to send her one of your caps with a short note.

    Let me know and I will provide name and address to you



  24. Llew says:

    I was looking for Adelaide Advertiser clues for 18 May 13 but they seem to have been taken off – does this mean you don’t keep archives more than 1 week ahead?



    • David Stickley says:

      I’ve restored the hints for the 18/5 and extended the retention period to two weeks. Thanks for the feedback.


  25. Sir lunch says:

    Got the book. Got the coffee mug. I NEED the cap!!!!!

  26. Andrew Gibson says:

    G’day David,

    For over 10 years now I have been a regular doer of the Financial Review crossword. I have often wondered who that bloke is that sets them and how his mind works. The clues are fantastic and the words in the grid very carefully chosen. I judge a crossword by how long it takes to solve – the longer the better. More often than not I am able complete them within a few hours. I use the Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary as my reference and it is only very rare for a word that I am seeking not be found here.

    The other day I decided to do an internet search for this David Stickley bloke and there it was, everything that I needed to know. I was not aware of your previous history with the “stickler” as this one was not in my local newspaper.

    I have had a lot of fun up to date with the free ones that you have posted on your web site and I will be very happy to support you into the future. I hope that you receive sufficient support for this to be ongoing.

    Thanking you,

    Andrew Gibson

  27. peter lisberg says:

    We have ‘done’ the Stickler for a number of years now, shocked at the general demise when they got cancelled. Have taken to buy the Fin.Review just for that one shot on a Saturday, get the weekly shot on Wednesday and today ran out of the first boxed set. I think we need at least a royal commission into this mess, I am going into withdrawal as from Sunday, my first day of cold turkey.