To Cross Swords…

Bengaluru newspapers in English have one feature beloved of a small group of readers..the crossword.

The crossword is a word puzzle that keeps one’s mind alert and certainly, being able to finish the crossword in the morning gives a feeling of achievement that can carry one happily through the day!

Crosswords can be “general” or “cryptic”; many newspapers carry the same grid into which both types of answers can be fitted. Of these, the cryptic crossword challenges many parts of one’s knowledge…of the English language, of allusions, literary or otherwise, and even one’s knowledge of other languages sometimes. They are often very witty indeed.The Deccan Herald crossword on weekdays is a challenge to one’s thinking process, as are the crosswords that appear in both the Economic Times,and the Indian Express. Alas, none of these newspapers cite the source from which they are taken. The cryptic crossword in the Hindu is compiled in-house, but does suffer shortcomings sometimes.

But of all the cryptic crosswords that appear in the newspapers of Bengaluru, my personal favourite remains this one:

the deccan herald crossword on saturdays

That’s the crossword that appears in the Saturday edition of the Deccan Herald. It is sourced from either the Mail or the Guardian in Britain…I am not sure. But I am sure that, several years earlier, the same crossword used to appear in a British magazine that I used to read, under the heading, “one of the toughest published.”

I don’t agree with the “tough” part; very often, what would make a crossword tough would be misprints in the clues, or the wrong grid being published for the crossword…it happens quite frequently! Or allusions to time or events that are from another country, not India.

But definitely, this crossword is one of the wittiest I have come across. In this one, above, for example, we have the clue, “What was advised for the exhausted gardener?” (3.4)…the words are, of course, “bed rest”. a nice pun on the word “bed” as both a place in the garden and a place to take rest.

However, I find that I seem to be in a very small minority of people who enjoy doing the crossword…someone once told me that it was a very British pastime! But I have certainly seen some local-language crosswords,too, though I am not aware if these are cryptic or not.

I suppose there must be others who love doing cryptic crosswords, or newspapers in Bengaluru would stop printing them…but where are these people? When the clues are printed wrongly, or the grid does not match the crossword clues, or even, as happened on one memorable occasion, when the same crossword was published on three consecutive days…there were no protesting letters! That’s when I feel that I may be the only person in Bengaluru who is addicted to cryptic crosswords….

1 Comment so far

  1. puthali (unregistered) on August 29th, 2007 @ 4:44 pm

    that was indeed a nice pun…’n ‘m sure there are many crossword solvers out there…but probably they are just lazy…? :) ‘coz i do remember they publishing the same crossword on consecutive days…

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