Encouraged by his father, Jonathan enjoyed solving crosswords from an early age.ref He caught the [[Derrick Somerset Macnutt|Ximenes]] bug while still at Rugby and "just lived for Sundays" thereafter.ref His first puzzles to be published were in the university weekly, [[Varsity (Cambridge)|Varsity]], under the pseudonym Gong and after leaving university he started submitting to [[...|The Listener]]. They published sixteen Gong puzzles between June 1965 and February 1972.ref He continued to be a Ximenes competitor until Ximenes' death in 1971.ref
Appointed as Ximenes' successor, he cast around for a new pseudonym. His two predecessors had taken theirs from Spanish [http://libro.uca.edu/lea1/append2.htm inquisitors-general] but none of the names remaining seemed suitably impressive.ref However, reversing the last name of one, [[Diego Deza|Diego de Deza]], gives () the first and last letters of the alphabet. Letter manipulation and word reversal are integral parts of a cryptic crossword: thus Azed was born. Azed No. 1 appeared in The Observer in March 1972 and monthly [[Azed#The competition|clue-writing competitions]] à la Ximenes resumed. These still continue and in the monthly [[Azed#The slip|"slip"]], he gives details of each competition and discusses points of technique and more general interest relating to his puzzles. He relishes the dialogue the competitions generate and many regular solvers have become his friends.ref Among the technical comments can sometimes be found glimpses into his private life - he is very interested in cricket and less so in football … he took part in a performance of [[Joseph Haydn|Haydn's]] [[Nelson Mass]] at [[Radley College]] … one of his sons is a rock musician.refrefref Interesting in their own right, these snippets are seized on by the more cunning competitors as ways to make their clues more appealing to the judge and so increase their chances of success.