Sadly, as I've mentioned in an earlier blog entry, The Times doesn't name its setters, so I can't say whether I normally enjoy Wadham Sutton's unthemed puzzles rather more than I enjoyed this one. The only other puzzle of his which I can identify (assuming that No. 25,061 was bang on the 40th anniversary) is No. 12,975, the Times crossword published on 17 January, 1972, and I'm pleased to report that (tackling this again 40 years on) I found it a pleasant, easy solve. However, it is perhaps fairly typical of its time, and would not suit all today's solvers. For example, I imagine 27ac "Flung by a lover, faithful in his fashion (5)" (select between the square brackets for the answer [ROSES]) would have some people baffled at first, and then (when it was explained to them) spitting 1dn "They make fast changes of course (5)" (answer [TACKS]). This latter clue would pass muster in a modern Times crossword, but I suspect 14ac "The Cheshire variety slowly disappeared (3)" (answer [CAT]) would be rejected.
So who is Wadham Sutton? I've almost certainly solved every one of his 1,404 Times crosswords (so far). Have I met him at the Times Crossword Championship? (Oh dear! Perhaps I have, and then forgotten all about it.) Have any of his crosswords been used in the Championship; in particular did he set any of the 233 puzzles I've solved (so far) while competing? I assume he's the Wadham Sutton who, if Google has come up trumps, is (or was?) a music journalist with a special interest in choral music - in which case perhaps I've read some of his articles or record sleeve notes. And perhaps he went to some of the concerts I sang in with the LSO Chorus (1966-1971) or London Philharmonic Choir (1969-1980), or at any rate bought some of the records we made. It's interesting that he's yet another example of someone combining a love of music with a love of crosswords.
Anyway, here's wishing him all the best for the next 40 years.