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The top 10 crosswords in fiction
October 15, 2012 5:09 AM   Subscribe

The Guardian's crossword blog recently completed a list of the top 10 crosswords in fiction

10: Brief Encounter
9: PG Wodehouse
8: The West Wing
7: Martin Amis
6: Madness's Cardiac Arrest
5: Rubicon
4: Alan Plater
3: Inspector Morse
2: Lord Peter Wimsey
1: Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words
posted by KirkpatrickMac (16 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Came here for the Sayers and wasn't disappointed but was confused. I don't remember this Meleager short story, but I do remember a crossword puzzle being central to something. I'm probably conflating or misremembering.

Not that The Simpsons is infallible, as testifies any of the episodes where the family travels abroad.

I won't hear a word against the Australia episode. *salutes toilet*
posted by DU at 5:38 AM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, no crosswords in Nabokov?
posted by BibiRose at 6:47 AM on October 15, 2012


This is relevant to my interests
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 6:50 AM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Archie Bunker: [Working a crossword puzzle] A four letter Italian word for "goodbye". Bang. B-A-N-G.
posted by chavenet at 7:13 AM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't remember this Meleager short story, but I do remember a crossword puzzle being central to something.

"The Fascinating Problem of Uncle Meleager's Will" (usually found in the short story collection Lord Peter) is a thoroughly average story about a difficult cryptic. It's mostly notable for including the crossword at the end.

Here's the tvtropes page for crossword puzzles.
posted by zamboni at 7:24 AM on October 15, 2012


I like that the entry for The West Wing made a passing mention of the second scene of the series, which was Leo arguing with the New York Times (possibly Will Shortz on the other end of the line) about the spelling of [Gadhafi], which has something like thirty transliterations in English. It was a stumble, I thought, as it set Leo up as a fussbudget who would be demanding definitive answers to questions that were impossible to settle. Totally not the way he turned out.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:03 AM on October 15, 2012


If I were slightly less lazy I would dig out my copy of The Tick #2 so I could accurately quote the bit where The Tick gets hired as the crossword editor of The Weekly World Planet.
posted by usonian at 9:01 AM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Wow, no crosswords in Nabokov?

He composed them, but as far as I know didn't use them in his fiction (unlike Scrabble, which plays an important role in Ada).
posted by languagehat at 9:47 AM on October 15, 2012


I have a mystery novel called With This Puzzle, I Thee Kill in what is called the "Puzzle Lady" series. I love that such a series exists. This particular book was focused on cryptograms, but the titular "Puzzle Lady" composes crosswords for the local newspaper, so I expect there are others in the series which have crosswords.
posted by RobotHero at 9:58 AM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Looks like Ruth Rendell doesn't even make it into the comments, although she has an early novel (One Across, Two Down and at least one short story where the main characters are crossword-obsessed. As I recall, the actual puzzle material wasn't very exciting and in fact the interest in crosswords was a negative feature of the characters.
posted by BibiRose at 10:19 AM on October 15, 2012


Reggie Perrin was originally a book? I am so happy to learn that.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:03 AM on October 15, 2012


No mention of the Thick as a Brick St. Cleve crossword? (previously)
posted by jepler at 12:14 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do miss that arrogant bastard Morse.
posted by aught at 12:43 PM on October 15, 2012


Oh, yes, hello, The Guardian. Thank you for reminding me that you have a crossword puzzle. Why don't I go spend the next hour of my life trying to get, like, four answers on it.
posted by 7segment at 1:10 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


The moment I truly believed that the St. Cleve Crossword was soluble was when I found the answer to 6 Across
6. More than 20 nasal c.w.t in reverse
Answer: SNOT. (20 hundredweight is 1 ton, but we're talking about more than that, and in reverse)

I've still got less than half the puzzle filled in, though, even after looking for spoilers on the internet. :(
posted by jepler at 2:30 PM on October 15, 2012


It's pleasantly surprising, how many of these I remembered before I even followed the links.

Ah, cripes, do I miss Rubicon.
posted by theatro at 5:44 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


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