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Mark Goodliffe

From Countdown
Mark Goodliffe
octochamp statistics
Final position Quarter-finalist
Seeding 5
Points total 816
Conundrums solved 4
Mark Goodliffe in Series 62...
...and 13 years later in Series 88!

Mark Goodliffe was a contestant in Series 62 and 88, and an octochamp and quarter-finalist in Series 89. At the time of his first appearance in 2010, he was a chartered accountant and finance director from London. As of his return, he was a non-executive director and former chief financial officer.


Series 62

Goodliffe first appeared on 21 January 2010 against eventual series winner, Oliver Garner, where he lost his only match on a crucial conundrum by 75 points to Garner's 81, and this was despite being 26 points ahead at one stage.

Series 88 and 89 heat games

As a result of the unfortunate above matchup, Goodliffe returned to the show just under 14 years later, winning his first match against five-time winner JJ Burrows with 93 points to Burrows' 81 points. After three further wins, including a personal best of 117 points in his second game, Goodliffe was placed aside for the series finals of Series 88, and returned to Countdown in January 2024.

He immediately picked up where he left off by powering his way to octochampdom with four more victories – of particular note, his last three games were all centuries and included the nine-letter word spots of REACTIONS, ABSENTERS and REPOSTING. He also did very well to recover from a 17-point deficit in his final heat against challenger Laura Gilbert as a reverse-card of his match against Oliver Garner. This helped him finish with an octotal of 816 points, thus becoming the first octochamp of the series.

Series 89 finals

Goodliffe ultimately returned as the fifth seed for a quarter-final against fellow returning contestant and octochamp, Jessica Pratesi. In a very nip-and-tuck affair, the two stayed close to each other the whole match, but Pratesi got some crucial spots with the first numbers round, paired with the word findings of LOUDISH and the darrenic MADUROS to secure victory at Goodliffe's expense after a relatively easy final six-small numbers round. Goodliffe did finish with a flourish turning USASECRET into SECATEURS to score a still excellent 99 points, and bowed out of the tournament with a grand total of 990 across his ten games, taking account of his Series 62 appearance as well.

Outside Countdown

Outside of Countdown, Goodliffe is a twelve-time winner of The Times Crossword Championships, with a remarkable ten-year undefeated run spanning 2008 to 2017. He is also a former UK Sudoku Champion.

Goodliffe is well known alongside Simon Anthony, who represented the UK at the World Sudoku Championships, for their YouTube channel Cracking the Cryptic. On this channel they demonstrate (and occasionally live-stream) challenging paper-and-pencil puzzles – mainly sudoku but also cryptic crosswords. The channel has been active since 2017, but grew in popularity during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. It now boasts over 500,000 subscribers.


# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Presenters Guest Lex Max
4962 21/01/2010 P Oliver Garner 81 – 75 Mark Goodliffe Jeff Stelling Rachel Riley John Stapleton Susie Dent 115
8166 08/12/2023 P JJ Burrows 81 – 93 Mark Goodliffe Colin Murray Rachel Riley Bob Harris Susie Dent 137
8167 11/12/2023 P Mark Goodliffe 117 – 41 Nicola Lawson Colin Murray Rachel Riley Marcus Brigstocke Susie Dent 122
8168 12/12/2023 P Mark Goodliffe 94 – 38 Paul Woodward Colin Murray Rachel Riley Marcus Brigstocke Susie Dent 120
8169 13/12/2023 P Mark Goodliffe 95 – 89 Jill Davies Colin Murray Rachel Riley Marcus Brigstocke Susie Dent 133
8177 02/01/2024 P Mark Goodliffe 91 – 58 Dan Morrell Colin Murray Rachel Riley Babatunde Aléshé Susie Dent 135
8178 03/01/2024 P Mark Goodliffe 116 – 43 Sharon McIvor Colin Murray Rachel Riley Babatunde Aléshé Susie Dent 133
8179 04/01/2024 P Mark Goodliffe 105 – 58 Julie Acheson Colin Murray Rachel Riley Babatunde Aléshé Susie Dent 147
8180 05/01/2024 P Mark Goodliffe 105 – 82 Laura Gilbert Colin Murray Rachel Riley Babatunde Aléshé Susie Dent 134
8302 25/06/2024 QF Jessica Pratesi 102 – 99 Mark Goodliffe Colin Murray Rachel Riley Marcus Brigstocke Susie Dent 124

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