Day 5: The Liverpool Puzzle Story, Friday Feb 8, 2013

The Liver Building

Just by all the publicity below, you can tell Liverpool was a little bit special. Of course, you could argue it is THE home of the crossword, what with Arthur Wynne, the first published setter, being from the city. But it also had two marvellous and delightful crossword fans as hosts, Alan Maycock, who worked tirelessly and did brilliantly to get maximum publicity from the Liverpool Echo, and Sue Taylor, energetic and dynamic and able to bring together a fine body of word-loving fans.

Some words from Sue:

‘8th Feb. Friday. 5 o`clock. List: white card, black markers, blu-tak, grid copies, sharp pencils (with rubbers), Thursday`s four-page Echo Crossword Supplement (thanks to Arthur Wynne being a Scouser and brig`s research and persistence) and a brother. Check. Drive.
The Belvedere Snug – fire glowing, John-`Paul` glowing. People gathering, cameras snapping, introductions made. Glasses raised. Arachne`s here with Nick, nescio`s made it. All in. Very `snuggly.`
 “Got a grid, got a pencil? Yes? Let`s go.”  
JP defines the purpose of his tour. We`re a perfect audience. Hand-picked. Welcoming, warm, witty. He is inspiring.
 “So… which words are important to Liverpudlians?”
John (at times, decodes The Accent and) scribes:
“Liver Birds!”
“Pier Head.”
“Royal Iris.”
“Bessie Braddock?”
“Edge Hill.”
“The Belvedere”
“Justice.”  Murmured, thoughtful unanimity on this.
We select ten from dozens of suggestions and each is duly ringed, ready for the grid.
“Such and such will fit at 1 across…”  
“That`ll give us dinkydink at 3 down…” Lots of laughs, intent pencilling, a bit of rubbing out.
Time races. Software to fill the gaps we`re left with.
(Mr Halpern says that `arseholes` would fit at 22 across. “Ooooh, Sir!”  I`m  uncharacteristically all for it and blame the Guinness.)
Grid filled. Top-up break.  Clustering locals in the bar want to know have we “nearly effin` finished”  but they`re smiling. Ish.
“Nearly. Just the clues to do.”  
JUST the clues. I can`t clue. Too new. Everyone else can. Does.  Wonderfully.
8:35 pm :  “The Liverpool Crossword is complete!” Cheers and whoops and  applause all round. We`ve had a ball.
And Tyrus has arrived … it`s a Three-Setter Thrill. And the night`s still young…

Articles in the Liverpool Echo, plus the video of the show:

And here is the puzzle for you to try!

The Liverpool Puzzle

One thought on “Day 5: The Liverpool Puzzle Story, Friday Feb 8, 2013

  1. Please have you any personal histiry of Arthue Wynne..He was born in Liverpool and emigrated to America where he invented the crossword puzzle. He was an editor or journalist on the Liverpool echo which was then called the Mercury. In America he joined the New york Times which was the New york world..He Had 2 brothers in Liverpool (or maybe in Whitford Flintshire where he was born) Alfred and Frederick..Arthur Wynne’s nephew is still alive and living in Caernarfon..Alfred Wynne..himself an author of My extraordinary life… We would like to learn more of Arthur if possible…I am friends with Alfred his nephew…Thank you Mrs Maureen Todd-davies…

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