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Reform Magazine | August 21, 2017

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Editorial: My mistake

steve_tomkinsGosh! Unexpectedly, I, S.T., make an admission of error (2,7)

This month, Reform celebrates the return of an old friend: The crossword is back, permanently. It had recently reappeared and started bobbing around unpredictably, but it will be in every issue from now on. This will, I have reason to believe, make a lot of Reform readers very happy.

One of the fantastic things about Reform from an editor’s point of view is how involved the readers are in it. You can see this from, for example, your constant arguments with each other on the letters page about things you’ve read in Reform. But we get far more letters and emails than we could ever print, mostly just letting us know how we’re getting on curating your magazine.

A large majority of the feedback over the 22 months I’ve been here has been positive, which is nice, but we have hugely appreciated the complaints and criticisms too, because we want to know what’s working and what needs work. And the one subject we’ve had more comments on than any other – by a generous margin – is the crossword. You missed it and wished that we would bring it back.

What happened to it in the first place? Dropping it was one of the first changes I made as editor, and it wasn’t because I don’t appreciate crosswords – I regularly fail to complete the Guardian cryptic. It was partly a matter of money and partly a matter of space, both of which I needed for some the new features I was excited about, such as Christian Activist, A Good Question and Art in Focus. I thought the crossword was a sacrifice most readers would be prepared to make.

I was wrong. A lot of you have told me how much you miss it. I explained that we didn’t have the money or the space for it, and you said: “Yes, we get that, but we want it back anyway.”

It’s taken a while, but in the end I listened, like a grumpy person in a parable. I’ve said a lot in this column about the virtues of hearing what other people are saying, and now I suppose I’ve belatedly taken that giddying leap from preaching to practising. It was tricky, but we’ve managed to make it happen.

So enjoy. It’s a good crossword, isn’t it? The answer to the clue above is, along with the other crossword answers, on p35.

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This article was published in the November 2014 edition of  Reform.

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