The Charity Christmas Puzzle, set by Gordon Gray to raise money for charity, since 1991.
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Bonus Puzzle No 1, 2020 - A secret catechism

Christmas PuzzleAs regular puzzlers will know I have set Christmas Puzzle to raise money for charity for 29 years. Puzzlers have been very generous with donations so it's time I did something for you. I am most grateful to Bill Brakes and others for the suggestion that I should set one or more bonus Puzzles specially to help puzzlers through this period of enforced isolation. I have responded to the request as quickly as I could - in my haste to issue the Puzzle, I haven't had it independently checked, so you may have to look out on this website for any corrections. In responding to Bill's request I was fortunate that back in 2003 I had started to prepare a puzzle that remained on my computer unused. In truth I didn't set it as a Christmas Puzzle as I wasn't particularly happy with the way the story was progressing – still in these strange times, needs must!

Gordon will be emailing Puzzles to those who have previously registered, so these should be received very soon. Anyone else who would like a copy of the Puzzle can access it from the web at

March 28, 2020 | Permalink | Comment

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March 29, 2020, Hilary Dickenson says:

Thank you so much for this - very much needed!

March 29, 2020, Shirley Jones says:

Just a quick check on 34a The blanks at the end after USA - are there four? That makes sense with my answer but it has come out as three in my print out although the final one is a little longer than the others. I'm satisfied to have cracked the theme although one of the elements within I have always called something else! You live and learn. Great fun and absorbing as usual.

March 30, 2020, Gordon says:

Yes 34a requires 4 letters after USA. There are enough dashes but missing a space! Also Q22 has found a rogue apostrophe

March 30, 2020, Rachel Fresco says:

Many thanks for this - just what s needed to pass the everlasting week! Just a quick thing - for clues 38c and 40b there are words without any letters - is this intended?

March 30, 2020, Dot Rochard says:


April 1, 2020, Ken Prosser says:

Thank you Gordon for another brilliant brain teaser. Just finished but 23a took a bit of finding!

April 1, 2020, Gordon says:

7b - The wind direction has changed from the NW to the NE!

April 2, 2020, Bill Brakes says:

Thanks Gordon. Enjoying it. Someone mentioned that this weird time feels like that gap between Boxing Day and New Year's Eve … Having one of your puzzles on the go makes this even more true!

May 15, 2020, Helen Grafham says:

Thank you so much for your bonus puzzle. It was a great distraction at the start of lock down. I solved apart from a few tricky clues and then put it away while I grappled with online shopping etc. Then suddenly realised it was May! All now completed, hopefully correctly. Another very enjoyable puzzle. Thank you again.Hope all good with you & your family. Helen

May 21, 2020, Stephen Baines says:

Thanks again Gordon. Great fun and challenge as always. Just received the answers and I dropped 3 marks :-( I can see those red crosses now. Would you mind checking your answer to 5b. Thanks. Take care.

May 23, 2020, Rose says:

Can you let me have the answers to the bonus puzzle no 1 please

May 25, 2020, Ken Prosser says:

Just finished another great challenge from Gordon. My main problem is that I cannot find a Z anywhere. There must be another tricky one hiding somewhere!

May 28, 2020, Mervyl McCowan says:

Very many thanks Gordon. Managed to get 119/120 on the first extra puzzle (got 40b wrong). The second puzzle is a bit harder although I have got an answer beginning with yet to finish it.

June 7, 2020, Bill Brakes says:

Hello Mervyl. Did you get EDDY for 40b? That's what I had which is in my Chambers. I wonder if Gordon would have given it to us if it had been a 'real' puzzle?! Agree, Bonus Puzzle 2 much harder!

July 11, 2020, Diana Platts says:

Thank you so much for the Bonus Quizzes. Am I right in assuming that once all the words have been entered, there is no need to try to find out what all the initial letters 'spell'? Is the 'theme' merely the presence in each answer of certain letters?

July 15, 2020, Stephen Baines says:

Hi Gordon - will you be setting up a section for comments on the bonus puzzles 2 and 3? Thanks.

July 15, 2020, Stephen Baines says:

Hi Gordon - will you be setting up a section for comments on the bonus puzzles 2 and 3? Thanks.

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