Desert Island Discs

BBC Radio 4

Society & Culture, Personal Journals

Chart Positions

Personal Journals 29
Society & Culture 194

Desert Island Discs was created by Roy Plomley in 1942, and the format is simple: a guest is invited by Kirsty Young to choose the eight records they would take with them to a desert island


John Graham

July 10th, 2011

Episode 175 of 566 episodes

Kirsty Young's castaway is the crossword compiler John Graham. Now aged 90, he works under the name Araucaria and, for more than fifty years, has infuriated, intrigued and entertained with fiendish clues and mind-twisting anagrams. Like his father and grandfather he became a vicar but, when divorce forced him to leave the church, crosswords provided an unlikely source of revenue. Of the skills needed to dream up cryptic clues, he says: "So much of it is something that goes on unconsciously. You see the word, you play with it in your mind, you don't actually think about the punters at all at that stage, you try and do it for yourself. I hope that it equips one for life in the sense that it makes one think more clearly and that can only be good." Record: Haydn - The Heavens are Telling Book: The complete works of Saki. Luxury: A telescope Producer: Leanne Buckle.