Meals seal the deal for Todd — second successive win of 2018 at Milton Keynes


Yorkshireman Callum Todd took the title at FOCAL Countdown’s Milton Keynes tournament on 4 August with a narrow win over Tim Down in the Grand Final — Callum’s second consecutive title since Cambridge in mid-June.

Zarte Siempre and Innis Carson played hosts for a fourth consecutive year in Buckinghamshire as 48 contestants from around the UK and Ireland took part in eight nine-round matches across the day, using a custom-made letters and numbers board for this now regular classroom format event.


Milton Keynes also played host, for the first time, to ten-letter conundrums.

Callum was the only contestant on the day to come out of all eight games unbeaten, closely followed by Tim who qualified second with 455 points from seven wins. That gave Tim an average of 57 in each game, with impressive high scores of 71 over Graeme Cole (notably with two nine-letter words in the first two rounds) and 69 against Jen Steadman. His only defeat of the day was to his would-be grand finalist.

Match sheet for Graeme Cole vs Tim Down; Tim amassed a giant lead by the end of the first half.

And so to the Grand Final — neck-and-neck for six rounds, until MGMPAUAES set Tim’s PAGES apart from Callum’s AGAPES (pronounced a-ga-pays), meals taken in Christian fellowship.

With the letters done, a four large numbers pick still couldn’t separate them and, as Callum maintained his six-point advantage going into the conundrum, CHANCEROAD eventually went unsolved on stage. It was then unscrambled successfully by Mauro Pratesi from the audience.

Grand Final results, and available maximums.

Callum’s win adds 96 FOCAL points to his 2018 total, taking him to 294, and Tim’s second place sends him up to 308 — not quite enough for the Top 8 as things now stand, after nine events:

1 – James Robinson – played 7, 452 points, up 1
2 – Edward Byrne – played 6, 392 points, up 2
3 – Tracey Mills – played 7, 386 points, up 2
4 – Zarte Siempre – played 6, 382 points, down 3
5 – Graeme Cole – played 6, 369 points, up 1
6 – Bradley Horrocks – played 6, 355 points, up 1
6 – Jonathan Wynn – played 6, 355 points, up 2
8 – Thomas Cappleman – played 4, 332 points, down 5.

And so, to sunny Bournemouth on Saturday 18th August with Sean Fletcher and Jeff Clayton. Entries are still open at £12pp — full details available at Some of the Top 8 have signed up, but not all of them, so expect some interesting movers and shakers on the leader board before long!

See you at the seaside!


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