The essence of a crossword, in the words of Roger Squires is to “entertain by misleading”. The guests revealed some of their favourite clues:
Transport unfortunately isn’t arriving (6,6)
Stiff examination (4-6)
There was some discussion at the dinner of the rumoured demise of the Chamber’s English dictionary. The dictionary was described as “a repository of amazing words” and “the crossword setter’s bible”. It has always been special to me, since I was given it as a present for my 12th birthday by an aunt who was a crossword whizz (I didn’t realise how brainy she was until I discovered, after her death, that she had been a code-breaker at Bletchley Park) and it was she who set me off on this particular pleasure. The Spectator didn’t reveal the answers to the clues above, preferring to allow their readers the glow of satisfaction which you get from working out the answers- which are, respectively, Virgin Trains, Post-mortem and Water.
For more on crosswords see ‘Wild Asian Ass’, January 4th.