February’s news agenda included spying balloons, Scottish nationalism convulsions and the death of a music icon — all of which have become material for the FT’s latest News Puzzle.

Each month, a small team of crossword compilers construct a grid and a set of clues about the people, places and events that have featured in the news pages of the FT.

This month’s compiler is Leonidas, real name Nicholas Huntley, whose day job is an orthodontist, based in Middlesbrough.

“The global news cycle in any given month throws up disparate themes, some of which are more suitable than others for a cryptic puzzle,” says Leonidas.

“We like to inject a bit of playfulness into the clues but it’s tricky to do that for natural disasters and ‘special military operations’.”

Leonidas threw in the odd sporting reference, some financial terms familiar to FT readers, a nod to the race for the US presidency and more than one acknowledgment of the Ukraine invasion.

“One news item floated into the headlines early in the month and pleasingly remained there for some time. And there were departures both political and earthly,” he says.

Some of the early ideas Leonidas scribbled down as February got under way were jettisoned as the stories had faded from view by the time of compilation.

“I just missed getting the death of John Motson in there, the news came in just that bit too late,” he says.

The News Puzzle will appear on the FT crossword app on the last Sunday of each month.


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