I use a pen. I know, I really shouldn’t. My mum uses one of those special
pens with a little rubber on top, in case of little accidents. Many use a
For me a pencil is joyless. The friction of graphite onto fresh newsprint
leaves me cold. The grey of tedium, of leaden skies, of duty.
But a standard ballpoint? Now you’re talking. In fact, I think I get a
little turned on by the effortless glide of the black – always black –
instrument (I shall refrain from using the word ‘tool’).
All my workings and scribbles adorn the designated spaces beside the grid:
the rings of to-be-rearranged potential anagram characters, the long phrases
by which I check the mechanics of a complex charade or some such; the
occasional oaths spat upon the page to clear the frenzied mind.
And all this leaves a glorious grid into which I can meticulously inscribe
the solutions – only when I am absolutely sure they are correct.
And the joy of filling in that last elusive entry. It is done. I may not be
able to solve all the clues life presents to me, nor even when I have
cracked them am I sure I’ve solved them as they were meant to be solved.
But here, in my crossword, I know. Here is an oasis of certainty. And am I
feeling a little smug? You betcha!