Saturday, 21 December 2013


I was thinking about crosswords anyway when by chance I discovered that today is a significant anniversary. It is appropriate that the inventor was a Liverpool man, though he had to cross the Atlantic to make history. My father hailed from Merseyside.

Probably the most enjoyable part of my visits back home was the lazy Sunday morning exchange of puzzles - the general knowledge and skeleton in my mother's Sunday Express and the Ximenes (succeeded by Azed) in my father's Observer. The latter would usually be passed or thrown across to my mother or myself with the remark: "I've left you the easy ones".  They weren't, of course, and there would follow collegiate solving accompanied by much twitting of each other's abilities. My habit of insulting people I like stems from that family atmosphere and I regret that it has often been misunderstood.

Nowadays I have a renewed interest in joint solving of cryptic crosswords through my long-distance friendship with Norah Clewes who I "met" through the crosswords forum on Cix. The Independent has replaced the Observer as the source of my exquisite torture, but it is almost like old times - apart from the insults.

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