See me live


Cracking Cryptics is a show in which Tony Long reveals, in a light hearted, humorous way, the mysteries of solving cryptic crosswords.  He explains the basic rules for solving these puzzles and examines the ten different kinds of clue that may be encountered.  He also deals with areas such as abbreviations and foreign words and suggests some techniques to help.  And all this is done in a relaxed, casual, humorous manner so that there is not the slightest suggestion of a lecture.  All illustrated on the big screen, this performance will enthral and absorb the expert as well as the novice.

Tony has given successful performances at Cornerstone in Didcot, Chipping Norton Theatre, Camberley Theatre, Swindon Arts Centre, Hartwell House, Norden Farm, Maidenhead, The Swan restaurant in Tetsworth, Great Torrington and appeared on the 'Jo in the Afternoon' show on BBC Radio Oxford and Sarah Walker programme on Berkshire Radio.  More recently he has successfully performed the show at two Literary festivals, at Sydenham festival and Hungerford festival. 

Future Performances 

  Watch this space for details of future performances


Tony Long retired in 1999 after 30 years in management with one of the country's largest retailers.  He was then able to indulge his long-standing passions for cryptic crosswords and drama.  He began solving cryptic crosswords literally at his father's knee when he tried to help his father solve the Telegraph crossword during the 1950s.  Since then he has solved well over 10,000 crossword puzzles and in the 1990s began compiling them himself. Tony also has a business, Personal Crosswords, which creates personalised crosswords featuring the name of the recipient.


His passion for drama began in the 1970s when he played a small part in an amateur production of the musical, Oklahoma, and he has been performing, directing and writing ever since.  He can be seen most years playing the pantomime dame and has played a wide variety of roles, most often comic in nature.


In 2010 he decided to combine his two passions for cryptic crosswords and drama by devising a show, which he calls Cracking Cryptics.   In this performance he explains the mysteries of cryptic crosswords in an amusing and entertaining way.  The first performance was very well received and now he is intending to tour with a refined and well-honed version of the show.  His long experience of appearing on stage and his relaxed manner with the audience make for an intimate, friendly occasion that will be a delight to any of the millions of crossword lovers around the country.



  • The performance requires a large screen (at least 12 ft x 9ft), a projector and a laptop computer, with connections to allow the computer screen to be displayed on the large screen.  All these can be supplied by Tony Long unless you prefer that your own equipment is used.  A stool and small table, for the laptop and some water, are also required.


  • The length of the performance is tailored to your needs.  The full show lasts 90 minutes with an interval in the middle.  However, it is possible to shorten this to anything from 50 to 90 minutes, with or without an interval as preferred.


  • The fee for the performance is negotiable.  An arrangement based on a box office split may be possible.


  • A4 posters and A5 flyers can be supplied as required.  They can be supplied in pdf format with space for the performance details to be entered.  We can provide posters and flyers with details inserted or blank for you to overprint.