The XWord team

The team at XWord is a dedicated group of professionals who take pride in their work. Each member is experienced in his or her own field, as well as in the compilation of puzzles, and has an extensive general knowledge and reliable reference base.

Our Biographies

Anina Roux

Anina Roux is a freelance journalist living in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has close to 40 years experience in the compilation of not only a wide variety of crossword puzzles and word games (in both English and Afrikaans), but also various Sudoku types. While initially working on her own, Anina started building up a solid reputation for the professionalism and timeous delivery of her crossword puzzles for various publications. With the demand for her creative work increasing, she decided to expand the business and to start teaching a few close relatives the secrets of crossword compiling. Thus the family business, XWord, was born. Today a team of seven people create and edit a large variety of puzzles and word games for various South African and even international clients. In collaboration with her team members Louise van Tonder, AlbĂ© Grobbelaar, Samantha McKendrick and Rick van Tonder, four Afrikaans puzzle books were published by XWord between 2007 and 2009. These were Groot Afrikaanse Pretboek, Bybelblokraaiboek, Grootdruk-blokraaiboek and the Finweek Blokkiesraaiselboek. 

Louise van Tonder

Louise is a qualified social worker who lived and worked in Bloemfontein, Potchefstroom and Johannesburg. Presently she resides in Stellenbosch where she administers her husband's architectural firm. She loves sewing and this hobby has developed into a business that provides curio shops and game farms with craft products. Louise is also a freelance writer and some of her sketches have been published in various magazines. She compiles and subedits crosswords, coded puzzles and arrow words in Afrikaans.


Samantha McKendrick

Samantha McKendrick is a world traveller who has lived and worked in South Africa, Israel, England, Wales and Australia.  Samantha is the "mathematical brain" of the team, she is responsible for all our number puzzles which include a large variety of Sudoku's and Kakuro's. She also compiles some English puzzles such as word searches, targets and coded puzzles.

Rick van Tonder

Rick van Tonder is a qualified journalist and photographer, but it is his love for language that makes him dedicate his life to crossword puzzles. He has an advanced diploma in journalism and photography and worked for Media24 and Independent Newspapers as a journalist cum photographer cum layout artist. Rick lives in Pringle Bay, where it is easy for him to enjoy his love for nature and sport. He admits that nothing makes him happier than having a fine glass of Cape wine with his wife after work. Rick is equally adept at compiling and subbing English and Afrikaans puzzles. He also acts as coordinator for XWord, which means that every puzzle goes through him before being sent to the publications. 

Estelle de Swardt

Completing crossword puzzles was part of life for Estelle de Swardt when she was still in high school and the arrow word in Huisgenoot was her favourite. Her first job, after completing her BA Communications studies at RAU, was therefore as good as written in the stars. It was at Huisgenoot and You magazines where her main responsibilities were to secure sponsorships for their weekly crossword competitions and to draw the winners. And yes, they even paid her! Appointments at Woman's Value, Sarie and Threads and Crafts magazines followed whereafter she went solo as a freelance journalist and sub-editor. In 2008 she joined the XWord team to come full circle in her crossword career - completing to compiling. Estelle compiles and subedits puzzles in English and Afrikaans.

Duard Grobbelaar

Duard Grobbelaar is the newest addition and youngest member of the XWord team. After obtaining his B.A. degree from the University of the Free State, he completed a post-graduate diploma in Media Management at the Rhodes University in Grahamstown. He was the station manager of Kovsie FM, a local community radio station in Bloemfontein for three years, but these days he works as a social media consultant and crossword compiler. He is also responsible for XWord's website and social media platforms.


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