Day 2: The Dorset Puzzle Story (Poole), Tuesday Feb 5, 2013

Durdle Door

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Our amiable host Ken Beveridge has worked hard to rouse the local community, and a smaller-than-Bristol, but equally enthusiastic, band arrives at The Cow, Parkstone in Poole.

Some words from Ken:

‘It may be a little known fact that 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the crossword. The very first crossword was published in the Comic Section of the New York World, created by an English journalist, Arthur Wynne, and published on 21 December 1913.

To celebrate the occasion, John Halpern, a noted crossword setter with The Guardian, The Independent, The Times and The Financial Times, is touring the country, telling crossword related anecdotes and helping solvers create a crossword puzzle relating to whichever part of the country in which he finds himself.

His tour arrived at Poole on Tuesday, 5th  February and his talk took place in The Cow in Ashley Cross. The guests really enjoyed  this unique crossword creation experience.

The participants came up with over 30 words which, to them, were reminiscent or peculiar to Dorset. Suggestions ranged from Durdle Door to Corfe Castle; Harry Redknapp to Sandbanks. None of which made it in to the final grid. Many more did however.

Once enough words were recorded, they were then inserted where possible in to the selected grid. Apparently there are innumerable grids to choose from – the group had a choice of two.

John went on to explain the intricacies of finding words to fill in some of the spaces created by our proposed words; mainly by the use of some extremely clever computer software.

Once the grid was completed each person there was asked to set clues for two or three of the words using both cryptic and easy clues. There were more than a few very clever, very witty and very funny suggestions. My favourite was an anagram for Cerne Abbas Giant – Big Erect Bananas!!

After an enthralling two hours a complete Dorset themed crossword was produced.’

Thank you so much to Ken, and also to his son Stuart for producing a brilliant tour poster. Furthermore, Ken also got me an interview on Radio Solent the morning before the Poole event. I popped in to the BBC’s Radio Bristol studios – for I’d still been in Bristol early that morning – to talk about fun with crosswords, oblivious to the fact that Solent’s listeners had been playing crossword games all morning on the show, and had written clues for me to solve LIVE! Gosh, I’m really not the best solver in the world, so it was a bit of a concern (!)  but the livewire presenter Julian Clegg thankfully gave me _ R _ C _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _T to start. I forget the clue, but the definition described someone who loves crosswords. Got it? Cruciverbalist!

And here is the puzzle for you to try!

The Dorset Puzzle

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