ADRIAN BELL (1901 – 1980) was born in Lancashire, grew up in London, and was educated at Uppingham School. Poor health kept him from university, and in 1920 he apprenticed himself to a farmer in West Suffolk. Later farming on his own account, his first books, the trilogy Corduroy (1930), Silver Ley (1931) and The Cherry Tree (1932), were based on his early experiences of life on the land in East Anglia. Continuing to farm and write books, he also worked as a freelance journalist, and was the compiler of the first Times crossword puzzle in 1930, contributing many more puzzles over the years, as well as weekly articles for the Eastern Daily Press.