IPH and SEMantics

Here I offer just a little about my contributions to British Mensa South East England regional newsletter, punningly called “SEMantics”, from 2000 to the present.

In the regions of the British Isles, a lot of what happens in Mensa is run by society members, volunteer Mensa members willing to do this; and there is a leading one of these in each region Mensa called the Regional Officer.

In April 2000, I was asked, by the Regional Officer for British Mensa South East England at that time, to take over as Editor of the Regional Newsletter, which is also a volunteer post held by a Mensa member willing to do it. I agreed to take it on.

Our newsletter is called SEMantics (South East Mensa antics, get it?) and I edited the monthly issues from June 2000 to June 2005 inclusive.

My first issue, for June 2000, was Issue number 116. In my five years then, the numbers went up to issue 176 for June 2005, so I edited a total of 60 issues not counting the one for March 2004 which a lady who acted as my deputy editor edited, as practice in case I should ever be ill and unable to do an issue).

Click on image to see it larger

I hope it is not too immodest to mention at this late stage that Mensa gave me an award for my work on the newsletter that first year; I am adding the photo of the mirror style plaque here on the right. (Click on it to see it larger.)

During those years I edited almost every monthly issue. Each issue was (and still is, in 2017) 8 sides; In 2000 the newsletter page size was A5. By 2016 it had changed to a slightly larger page 16cm wide and almost 24cm high. Page 8 of SEMantics was taken up by a crossword and, from the issue of June 2000, the Mensa region began offering a prize for the winner of a draw from correctly solved crosswords sent to the editor, and so I had to conduct a draw and pick a winner with a correct puzzle solution from the entries sent to me every month. I did this every month from June 2000 until April 2018, when I had to retire because of disease.

In 2000, the puzzles were made up every month by a member whose name was Bryan Gabriel, but in 2003 he wrote and told me that he was retiring, and that for his old age he would be emigrating back to his native South Africa, now that it was going to be safe to return there. I had to find another source of 12 crosswords per year which were not to be found anywhere else, and asked for offers from Mensa readers. I had a few offers, and used some puzzles sent to me by members, and one member ended up creating six puzzles per year for most of the next dozen years. In 2017 he still supplied about half of all the puzzles in SEMantics, and I developed the ability to create them and I set the other half. In fact, for the 12 months of 2016, I set 8 of the puzzles.

After I handed over normal editorship of SEMantics in 2005 after doing the June issue, I continued to serve as Crossword Editor; and up to the spring of 2018, I still received all the crossword solution draw entries by mail and by email, and I conducted the monthly prize draw, and then sent out gift tokens to the winner.

The role of Regional Newsletter Editor is an important Mensa regional volunteer post, and to be asked to take it on again in December 2016 to produce SEMantics from the February 2017 issue onwards meant that I was again going to be quite busy helping British Mensa in one of its largest regions for members.

The other job I ended up with, and held until April 2018, as Crossword Editor was not a Mensa official post in the same way, and so, to enable me to attend regional meetings of Mensa’s volunteer officer-members, in 2005 I was asked to become the Contact Member for the Bordon area, which post I held also until April 2018. My contact details were listed in SEMantics so that members in the district could get in touch with me if they wanted to. However, as it has turned out, I very rarely had anybody contact me in that capacity. There we are.

That is just a summarized story of my involvement with the Mensa regional newsletter for South East England to date.

For some old puzzles set by me to try, see IPH SEMantics crossword archive.

For a table of SEMantics issue numbers since 2000 (the year of my first involvement) to 2018, see SEMantics issue numbers.