Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Crosswords

I'm currently trying to compile a crossword for the Ffiesta, and it's proving quite tricky - there have been a few cross words muttered in our house, I can tell you.

When I was young, my dad used to do the Telegraph crossword every day and he used to let me help him. (Disclaimer:  I have no idea why he read the Telegraph, which does not reflect his political views at all (for those of you not from around here, the Telegraph is often known as the Torygraph and is rabidly right wing))  Anyway he taught me a lot of tips and wrinkles for working out the answers, so if a clue said that something was muddled or mixed up you could be pretty sure that you were looking for an anagram and 'sounds like' indicated that there would be homophones involved.  'Sappers' in the clue meant the Royal Engineers and you would find the letters RE in the answer, things like that.  After a while I got to be quite good at solving the clues and I even began to recognise the different compilers - you can start to see the way their minds work when you get used to their individual styles.

I admired the way that the lady across the road could solve a crossword in a few minutes - I was a bit surprised by this, because I knew she didn't even know how to spell words like essential - she used to ask me.  Admittedly it was only the quick crossword, but nonetheless I thought she must be very clever.  One day I looked at the completed grid and it was only when I thought 'Hang on, there isn't such a word as PFXT!' that I realised how she did it.  She would put in the answers she did know and then fill in the rest of the squares with random letters!  I was much less impressed by her skill after that.

I was reminded of this whilst trying to get the words in my crossword to intersect in any way at all and am strongly tempted to add in or take out a letter here and there just to make the wretched things fit.  Still I shall persevere and you may see the results in June.

Oh, and don't try and get an insight into the way my mind works from my crossword, you'll only end up feeling sorry for me.

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