Puzzler’s Wednesday – Sanket Shrivastava (AKA Bombadil)


  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I like to think I am creative, humorous, passionate, and god-loving. I learn things quickly. I am pluralistic in faith, and the only thing I don’t tolerate is intolerance. I was born under the star sign Aries.

I have quit smoking many times. I don’t drink alcohol; instead, I read poetry and scripture.

I was married briefly once; I am currently single.

  1. When did you start solving and making puzzles?

Sometime in the year 2012 I think. Tony Sebastian (who used to publish under the name Cryptonyte in the national daily “The Hindu”) introduced me to Cryptic Crosswords when I was one year his junior at Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode. Since then, I haven’t looked back. However, I was into solving other types of puzzles since my early childhood. Some members of my family have a great memory for oral riddles, like those of the great Amir Khusro, which they passed on. Wordplay is a recurrent theme at our family dinners. We are a bunch of ridiculous punsters, especially my father (who writes Bollywood films) and my maternal uncle. Never a dull moment when they are around.

The first time I encountered a Cryptic Crossword was in ninth grade, when I was bedridden with jaundice for a fortnight in a hospital. I had a book of cryptic puzzles by my bedside, which I had randomly picked up once from a footpath shop in Mumbai. I had no help. No one in my family had ever heard of cryptic crosswords. No dictionary. I couldn’t solve anything, and had to reverse-engineer the logic by looking at the answer, which most of the times did not make any sense to me. I abandoned them thereafter until some sixteen years later, when I was introduced to them again, and I realized that cryptic puzzles, too, were governed by rules. It’s been a smooth ride since then. Tony was the Yenta, as my mind and cryptic puzzles are made for each other.

I started out as a solver, and having understood the rules a little bit, plunged myself enthusiastically into setting. My first grid was published by THCC (Col. Gopinath’s esteemed blog) in July 2015. I compose under the name Bombadil.

  1. Do you just concentrate on cryptics or do you solve/create other kinds of puzzles too?

Cryptic crosswords are my most favorite kind of puzzles to create and solve. They require a great degree of skill and craft, and some people turn it into an art form with their touch. Apart from cryptics, I also create other types of logical reasoning puzzles, as part of a start-up venture in education space, which a friend from Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee has developed. It is a part time job. My day-job is with an automobile company, and takes up most of my time.

I had a brief affair with Sudoku. I also sporadically give a shot to chess puzzles.

  1. A cryptic clue that always stayed with you?

Far too many to cite; I have a memory like an elephant. It’s terribly unfair to narrow down to one, but here goes: See finished (6,7)*

  1. Favorite constructor?

Again, far far too many to name. Among those who’ve influenced me most deeply are Anax and Vinod Raman. I have received a lot of guidance from them; Anax at DIY COW and Vinod Raman at the Cryptic Crossword Society on Facebook. Any list of my favorite setters will also have the names of Rufus, Araucaria, Don Manley in his many avatars, Paul and Arachne. I think Screw/Donk has a very bright future ahead of him. Among the more libertarian setters, I enjoy the work of David Astle. Someday, when I am good enough, I will also like to include the name of Azed in my list. Presently, he is too advanced for my level of solving. I am still evolving.

  1. What do you like to do when you’re not doing puzzles?

I play a variety of musical instruments: wind, percussion, keyboards and strings. I am quite fond of chess and cricket. I love reading books. I also try writing– poetry and detective stories mainly. I do Japa meditation.

  1. If you could have dinner with one famous person who would you choose?

Among the living, Meryl Streep.

Among historical personages, Hazrat Ali ibn Abi-Talib.

Among the fictional, Sherlock Holmes.

  1. If you had a superpower what would it be?

This one is easy. Time travel.

  1. What’s your personal motto?

Wisdom through Enthusiasm!

Sanket shares two puzzles with us today. The first he calls Double Trouble and you can download it here.

Double Trouble – By Bombadil

The second appeared on on Alberich’s site and you can check it out here.

Puzzle by Bombadil


*FOLLOW THROUGH (See = Follow, finished = Through, &lit, the whole surface is the definition, It’s a clue by Anax)

Double Trouble Solution

If you’d like to chat to Sanket about his puzzles please contact him via his email,  sanket.shrivastava@gmail.com.

About paws4puzzles

I'm a writer and puzzle maker. I am the author of a YA fantasy series, P.A.W.S. and my puzzles have been published in many magazines from Dell and Penny Press and on the walls of the Eltana cafe in Seattle. My most recent release is a book of logic problems, Paws4Logic which I wrote together with my son, Joey.
This entry was posted in Cryptics, Interviews, Puzzler's Wednesday and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Puzzler’s Wednesday – Sanket Shrivastava (AKA Bombadil)

  1. kumargaurav says:

    While i don’t understand cryptic crosswords and i don’t share the enthusiasm with solvers and crafters of cryptic cross words. But i do know a few people who enjoy them and least one who can do eat sleep and play cryptic crosswords. The fun thing is that these people are not at all like the crosswords i.e. cryptic 🙂

    Bombadil, i too would like to have dinner with Sherlock Holmes but only if Watson would also join. No Irene should not be on the table.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bombadil says:

    Hello Kumar Gaurav (Would you be the same person with whom I studied at IIM K?)

    Glad to know you also enjoy Sherlock Holmes (who doesn’t?). My favorite Sherlock Holmes actor is Jeremy Brett, but my favorite John Watson actor is definitely Martin Freeman. If detective stories are your cup of tea, then may I recommend to you, to also check out the works of Nero Wolfe by Rex Stout…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. paws4puzzles says:

    Reblogged this on Paws 4 Puzzles and commented:

    According to WordPress my interview with Sanket was my most popular post this year – so here it is again for your puzzling pleasure.


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