Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The cryptic in me

I love word games. A few years ago, while living in Samoa, J and I taught ourselves to do cryptic crosswords using The Listener (a weekly New Zealand magazine) crosswords and got hooked. The whole magazine was read backwards and forwards and then the crosswords were attacked, first the easy quick crossword as a warm up then the cryptic. The obvious ones, any anagrams and hidden words, were written in quickly. The harder ‘cryptic’ clues were done over a period of hours or days picking the magazine up when there was a spare minute and pondering over a clue or propped up on the bed before lights out. Mulling over a clue while doing the daily rounds of school and work drop offs or peddling furiously at the gym became a relatively enjoyable way to calm the nerves and distract from the non air-conditioned heat.

At first my mother used to get our weekly subscription and send them on but despite being able to read them first she soon tired of the regular stamping of big envelopes and began to hint that we should find another way of getting our hands on our weekly fix. J conned a friend who still worked at the New Zealand version of 'the company' (red) to send them by internal mail every now and again on the proviso that they could read the coveted mag first (thankfully neither S or her partner were even remotely interested in the all important crossword). This worked a treat, even when we then moved on to Singapore the internal system spat out correspondence from New Zealand regularly enough to be able to keep up with a weekly rag which was just as well as none of the local papers in Singapore sport a crossword even of the quick and easy variety.

I was told by a Singaporean classmate in my English class that Singaporeans have neither the time nor the language to be able to enjoy doing a crossword even though for many English was their first and strongest language! Despite having been at an American University for as long as it took him to collect an undergraduate and a masters degree he had never even heard of a cryptic crossword. Another classmate of Korean origin said Korean papers have crosswords (in Korean I presume) but again she had not heard or seen a cryptic crossword.

Now we are in Cambodia and the daily crossword is back in both the Phnom Post and in the Bangkok Post both of which are readily available for a dollar or two each. This is just as well as J is now with the competition, the company (blue), so our safe and cheap way of getting The Listener has finally dried up.


Simple Answer said...

Cute cartoons! My SP loves his crosswords. Bought him a book of puzzles collected from his favorite US paper.

Verity said...

I hate to admit it - I love a crossword - but when it comes to the cryptic ones I have a lot of trouble!