A Crossword Solving Session


This morning, a larger thrush commandeered the crab apples. A game of hide and seek was required to photograph it.

This afternoon we watched a TV production of Agatha Christie’s ‘Witness for the Prosecution’. Without giving anything away I can say that Toby Jones, as a romantic, consumptive, solicitor, did a magnificent job of leading an excellent cast in a superb period drama faithfully portrayed, complete with London smog.

I have the misfortune to have a family branch addicted to the Daily Mail crossword. This meant that yesterday, when I found one discarded in Hythe Marina Village, I felt duty bound to bring home the newspaper. Added to the puzzle that Matthew and Becky had purloined from the Beachcomber cafe ‘paper, there were two copies. This was still one short, so I scanned and printed two copies from today’s Mail’s original.

Jackie, Becky, and Matthew solving Daily Mail Crossword

Jackie, Matthew, and Becky were then able to relax into friendly competition with their clipboards.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb beef in red wine, roast potatoes and parsnips, carrot and swede mash, Yorkshire puddings, Brussels sprouts, and breaded mushrooms. None of us imbibed.


  1. What do you mean, misfortune? I’ve been doing crosswords since I was a kid. I just do the Sunday ones now (no time everyday) – So Jackie – I’m with you!! πŸ™‚

    1. It’s an in-joke about the quality of the Daily Mail puzzles. Actually I set cryptic crosswords for 20 years and collaborated on a couple of books, but blogging has replaced that enthusiam. Thanks, GP. That will please Jackie.

    2. Derrick does not ‘lower’ himself to do the Daily Mail crosswords, but remains the guru to the rest of us when we get stuck on a clue. It is a last resort to ask for help tho’ because help comes with a lengthy explanation as to why the clue is no good, we acknowledge the clues are inferior, however as my mother (a brilliant crossworder herself) used to say ” It’s only supposed to be a clue”.

      1. So right you are, Jackie. Now, if Derrick is going to be ‘uppity’ about crosswords, we’ll just need to get together and figure out a decent payback. [snicker-snicker] πŸ™‚

      2. This is some fascinating stuff. Please don’t tell Derrick that I spend the first 20 minutes of my day drinking coffee and doing Sudoku. He’ll never speak to me again.

  2. I love the thrush photos. Stunning!
    I laughed at your story about finding the crossword puzzle. My husband does the crossword in our paper and the Sunday New York Times. A couple of weeks ago, the NY Times had a special puzzle section with a giant full spread crossword. He may still be working on it. πŸ™‚

  3. I used to love the Daily Mail crosswords then I graduated to those seriously hard cryptics and now my brain doesn’t work well enough to solve them I’m back to good old dependable ordinary crosswords…….. and sudoku πŸ™‚ What a great way to spend a wintery afternoon and evening. A good TV production, a crossword and a yummy dinner!

      1. As Derrick may recall, I have struggled to complete some of his (certainly until recently, and possibly still, The Independent [lately gone online only] used to publish old specimens of his challenges. When, having stumbled on a convincing answer to some clue, I asked Derrick whether I’d got the right reasoning, but he couldn’t untangle his own work!)

  4. I love that working the crossword is a family affair, Derrick. My mother enjoys Sudoku, but I don’t get it. I stick to my jigsaw puzzles. Great thrush photos…he was determined to hide. πŸ™‚

  5. My Mother (and younger brother in his childhood) were addicted to crosswords. Fortunately (or unfortunately, in my efforts to find words to write for my Photo Blog), I didn’t inherit the love (of them). I do so wish I had a better command of words and their meaning though. In the meantime, The Apple Mac spellcheck has to work overtime.

  6. One memory I have of my Dad was before he moved in with us he and I used to do the crossword puzzle from a local paper every Wednesday by phone! We would do what we both could separately and then at our usual 4 pm call would trade notes and work on the rest together. It was a fun time. When he moved in his eyesite was getting worse so I would blow up a copy on the printer for him and like your family we would sit and work on them separately but would discuss when needed! I miss those times. I couldn’t never do as well on them as he did!

  7. I haven’t tried a crossword with someone else since my childhood. My mother and I used to enjoy doing them together after school. (She was driving the car at the time!) Fun days.

  8. This post immediately should have brought smiles to my face but instead a few tears popped up. Probably due to missing my Dad who would have been sitting side by side every day of retirement working on the Cleveland Plain Dealer crossword puzzle with Mom.
    Since 2001, Mom had tried to keep this practice going but has failed in the past few years to carry on. One stroke back four years ago combined with memory lapses keeps her from finishing them. Even writing letters has in the past year been very challenging. Phrases and words are left scattered on writing pads. I take her notes or unfinished letters and exclaim, “Thank you, Mom for this one!” It is like the “age old switch” in place, as I “reward her” now, when she (and Dad) had always praised my academic achievements. I am blessed she recognizes most of us, except younger grandkids.
    She recently asked me to do a crossword puzzle with her, but having never done them, (which is really necessary to “know” the different words and oblique definitions given to do well on these), I try to sidetrack her. πŸ™‚
    This bird playing hide n seek in the crab apple branches was a sweet cluster of bright spots here.

  9. I’m surprised no-one has commented (even John Knifton) that yout “thrush” is a (female) blackbird, possibly this year’s brood. Strictly, in a Linnaean sense, it IS a thrush (blackbirds are of the thrush family), so you’re right, without being fully right.
    In the list of tags at the bottom, I was amused to see “Daily Mail” next to “thrush”. Obviously, there’s a sub-category of irritants.

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