I AM devastated to read of the passing of John McKie (Myops), compiler of the Wee Stinker and crosswording legend "Crossword genius, gentleman and teacher John Mckie dies aged 80" and Obituary, The Herald, March 18, and Letters, March 19). I have gained enormous pleasure over many years from tackling his sublime but fiendishly difficult creations. Before the days of "instant solution" websites such as Danword, possession of a hard-won Wee Stinker T-shirt was a badge of honour, and brought much kudos to any wearer.

I also recognise the undoubted value of these puzzles as "athletics" for the brains of adults of all ages. I’ll always regret that I have been unable to imbue my sons and grandsons with my enthusiasm for eclectic crosswords such as those by Myops. Some years ago I sought to capture this regret in verse:

The Solver Contemplates His Mortality

Who will do Azed

When I am dead?

What wee thinker,

Will take on the Wee Stinker?

It matters not a whit, you see,

As Jonathon Crowther and John McKie,

Will both be just as dead as me!

Jonathon Crowther, is, of course, the Observer’s compiler of almost 2,500 Azed crosswords, and, to the best of my knowledge, is still going strong. I am so sorry to hear that one-third of my grim second-verse prediction has now come to pass.

Neil Sinclair, Paisley.

AS an octogenarian Wee Stinker solver I had ceased to be able to do it in recent years. but I had solved it in the past and ran up a supply of a dozen T-shirts.

When I moved to sheltered housing I gave them to Blytheswood Trust, so there will probably be children in Romania sporting them with no idea what the writing means.

I feel almost a personal loss on hearing of the death of John McKie.

Rev AD Williams, Dundee DD1.

SAD to see the passing of my old Hutchie classics master John McKie, one of the last in the school to use the belt. But he had a sense of humour, telling me after I scraped a dismal 25 per cent in three consecutive exams, to be pleased I had achieved 75 per cent in Latin.

Scott Macintosh, Killearn.

CROSSWORD lovers have lost a great friend with the death of John McKie.

Whilst there are many other setters out there, I don't know of any with his particularly fiendish style.

What better way to remember the great man than to re-issue all his past crosswords?

Obviously the answers are all in the public domain so these couldn't be prize crosswords, but the real prize lies in the solving of his puzzles.

I must have missed decades of his output until I got into his crosswords. I'd love to have the opportunity to try all of his puzzles.

Tim Downie, Ayr.

SORRY to learn of the passing of one of your "weel-kent" jounalists, Jack Webster ("Son pays tribute as popular Herald columnist Jack Webster dies, aged 88", The Herald, March 18). I always looked forward to his articles in the Glasgow Herald as he added a couthy dimension to his subject.

I recall one of his ventures was to track down the lady who wrote the Northern Lights of Aberdeen. A Londoner who had never been to Scotland: he went down to "The Smoke" and brought her up to visit Aberdeen and see the "sichts" of his own back yard.

Job done.

He will be missed but oft remembered.

Archie Burleigh, Skelmorlie.