Sunday 14 February 2010

How A Crossword Fan Pops The Question

proposal-in-puzzle In The Boston Globe Sunday crossword puzzle published on 23rd Sep 2007, clue 111 Across was 'Generic Proposal'. The answer: 'Will you marry me?'

For Aric Egmont, the answer was also the marriage proposal to his girlfriend and crossword fan Jennie Bass.

In the summer of 2007, Aric Egmont contacted The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine to ask if the puzzle setters would be willing to write a crossword especially for him. Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, a married puzzle-setter team for the paper, agreed to Egmont's request.

The setters created a themed crossword with the title 'Popping The Question'. Each themed entry was based on proposals, such as 22A 'Macrame artist’s proposal' (answer: 'Let's tie the knot').

The challenge for the setters was to make the theme clear to the couple, at the same time not obscure to their other solvers. Apart from the themed clues based on proposals, the setters put in words of personal significance in the grid, such as Egmont's last name, Jennie's sister's and best friend's names. The key clue 'Generic Proposal' was also phonetic play of the couple's first names: Jen and Aric.

The couple solved this special crossword together on the Sunday morning of its appearance in the paper. When they got to 111 Across, Aric Egmont popped the question. Jennie's answer, not surprisingly, was also the answer to clue 115 Down 'Hoped-for reply to 111A'.

Read the news reports about this special puzzle here and here, and check out the special crossword here.

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