When you live and breathe crosswords, you just have to reside in a house called ‘One Across’. This week my wife Taline (anagram ‘entail’) and I re-named our home. I’m sure there are some far more brilliant names you can think of for the home of a crossword setter – do let me know – but this name is a bit special to us.
For ‘One Across’ is the name of the subscription-based crossword magazine founded by the legendary Guardian setter, our very good friend and mentor, Araucaria. For those of you new to cryptic crosswords, us setters tend to go by various pseudonyms. I am called Paul, after my late brother, and Araucaria took that name as the Latin for the ‘monkey puzzle’ tree. Shed is called Shed as he tells me he looks like a shed – I couldn’t disagree. Enigmatist apparently was dubbed thus in the school playground. Pasquale’s first name is Don, while Tramp and his ever-faithful Rover reside at 13b Park Bench Manors, Regent’s Park. Or not.
Over the next year or so we shall take you on a personal journey across the wilds of Crosswordland, meeting many of the great and the good, solvers and setters alike. It’s going to be great fun. Welcome to my home, and remember, we welcome knockers, but you may of course prefer the ‘bordello’ (anag).
Take care, (Paul) John