Edward Powys Mathers

Edward Powys Mathers (28 August 1892 – 3 February 1939) was an English translator and poet, and also a pioneer of compiling advanced cryptic crosswords. Powys Mathers was born in Forest Hill, London, the son of a newspaper proprietor.[1] He was educated at Loretto and Trinity College, Oxford.

He translated J. C. Mardrus's French version of One Thousand Nights and One Night. His English version of Mardrus appeared in 1923, and is known as Mardrus/Mathers. He also translated The Garden of Bright Waters: One Hundred and Twenty Asiatic Love Poems (1920); and the Kashmiri poet Bilhana in Bilhana: Black Marigolds (1919), a free interpretation in the tradition of Edward FitzGerald, quoted at length in John Steinbeck’s novel “Cannery Row”. These are not scholarly works, and are in some cases based on intermediate versions in European languages. Some of his translations were set to music by Aaron Copland.

He was also a composer of cryptic crosswords for The Observer under the pseudonym "Torquemada" from 1926 until his death. Under this pseudonym, he reviewed detective stories from 1934 to 1939.


  1. ^ "Edward Powys Mathers". www.crossword.org.uk. (See Wikipedia article for Edward Peter Mathers.)

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