London Times Crossword
Today I finished the London Times Crossword, and the first thing I wanted to do was to phone Pat McBryde in Scotland to announce this unusual event. Pat could sit down with the Times and solve the crossword in half an hour or less – every day. Several times she came close to winning (and once won in the pairs section with Bishop Ted Luscombe) the Times annual national crossword competition. It was she who got me hooked on what another Scottish Bishop (Alastair Haggart) called sheer time wasting.
But Pat died last year, and I can only hope my triumphant whoop was heard in Heaven.
Bishop Haggart may have been right about wasting time, but I doubt it. A crossword like the Times’s covers such a range of subjects and requires such a lot of lateral thinking that I am sure it helps keep my mind from total stagnation.
In today’s (successful, remember!) crossword, I had to have at least some knowledge of Greek mythology, pastry-making, computers, proverbs, card games, Near Eastern history, Italian geography, English novels, French composers. Now, those who know me will laugh at such claims (at least as far as computers and pastry-making go) but I hasten to add that it is not a deep knowledge that is required but more a mind that is “a picker up of unconsidered trifles”. That may explain why Bishop Haggart disapproved – his was a mind that knew some subjects deeply and brilliantly, but had no idea about lots of others.
Ah well, when you next hear me say “I have a lot of paper work to get through” you will know that some of it is the Times Crossword – well it is printed on paper!