Among the many things you may not know about me, since I rarely reveal anything of the inner bloke in my assorted ramblings, is that I like to compile cryptic crosswords. I love everything about the process, from the challenge of getting the words to fit correctly in a grid in the first place, through the sadistic delights of conjuring up their associated torturous clues and then, finally, the wonderful bit where you get to see the brow-beetling of your friends and family as they wrestle with a particularly devious piece of chicanery.
I can’t even begin to tell you the profanities I have heard and the foul things I have been called over the years. The louder and fouler the utterances of my nearest and dearest, the better I consider I have done my job. I can only imagine that had I not turned to crossword compiling as a hobby I might very well have ended up a serial killer.
Some years ago, when I changed computers, I lost a whole back catalogue of examples, and for a while I gave it up and resisted the urge to create more. Recently, though, I compiled one for a newsletter I was asked to edit. It’s not hair-tearingly difficult for those who know how these things work, but for the beginner there’s certainly enough to cause frowns and, hopefully, induce mild to medium strength tantrums. I reproduce it here for those of you who like to fritter time away in essentially pointless activities. Given that we’re all bloggers, I guess that means you.