Coronavirus, One Year On | Twitter

To help sort my own memories, I’m going to try a daily post of something from a year ago, as a thread.

Death To 2020 | Netflix

I was delighted to work on this review of this year.

Thursday Murder Club Quiz

I also recommend Richard’s book.

You can get the quizzes by subscribing to this newsletter. My own new book is The Shipping Forecast Puzzle Book.

Support for solvers | The Guardian

Two new features in my Guardian column. Recommendations for remote activities, and a collaborative playlist of music recorded under current conditions:

Becoming You | Apple TV

A long time in the making. There is something extraordinary in every episode.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm | Amazon

“Additional material”, written before the substantial Covid elements, for this, released on 23 October.


Richard Osman’s House of Games | BBC2

Series four starts on 12 October. Happily (for me), the question-editor bit of production preceded … the Unpleasantness.

See also: my book for Penguin, The Joy of Quiz. And, to a lesser extent, the official spin-off book.

Crossword column | The Guardian

An unusual honour: featuring in The Antidote: the ‘list of non-coronavirus [Guardian] articles our readers spent the most time with’.

Attention should pass to St Christopher’s hospice in Sydenham.

Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe | BBC2

Proud to have taken part. BBC2, 9pm, 14 May.

Jam On It | Podcast

Since the mid-’90s, my friend Pandora and I have been planning a music- and ingredient-themed experience where the listener cooks along in real time. It’s finally here, as an unofficial podcast. Get involved.

Fingers on Buzzers | Podcast

I’m the guest on the new episode of this quiz-discussion podcast.

Apple / Acast / etc

How to solve Cryptic Crosswords during Coronavirus

Looking for a distracting hobby that takes a chunk of time? 

Maybe one with a bottomless supply that you can access without going out into the world?

But you find cryptic crosswords baffling?

Here’s a selection of understandable explainers from the Guardian (if you prefer, your local bookshop can get my book for you).

And another thing: crosswords are best learned with a friend or family member. Beginner-friendly puzzles: Observer Everyman; Guardian quiptic; Telegraph; Times2.

Cryptic devices

Right, these are the bits of business like anagrams that you find in cryptic clueshidden answersdouble definitionssoundalikesinitial lettersspoonerismsCockney rhyming slang; containersreversalsalternate letterscyclingstutteringtaking most of a word; making a word naked; first & last letters

Bits and bobs

You also come across abbreviations and whatnotRoman numeralsNato alphabetGreek letterschemistryabbreviations for countriespoints of the compassplaying cardscapital lettersapostrophescricketalcoholthe churchdrugsmusicanimalscarscitiesriverswhen the setter’s name appearswhen the solver appears; royals; newspapers; doctors

Individual letters

A surreal set of “interviews” with the alphabet: ABCDEFGHIJKL

Top 10 Crosswords in Fiction

10Brief Encounter
9PG Wodehouse
8The West Wing
7Martin Amis
6Madness’s Cardiac Arrest
4Alan Plater
3Inspector Morse
2Lord Peter Wimsey
1: The Simpsons

Interviews with setters

What makes these people tick: Paul; Enigmatist; Anax; Tramp; Boatman; Arachne; Rufus; Shed; Puck; Pasquale; Morph; Orlando; Gordius; Audreus; Philistine; Otterden; Doc; Crucible; Picaroon; Nutmeg; Chifonie; Screw; Chalicea; Knut; Styx; Marc Breman; Azed; Navy; Smurf; Enocta; Vlad

Random bits and bobs

100 years of crosswords; commentary from the Times Crossword Championship; rudeness; plagiarism; David Nobbs; Steve Pemberton

David Moseley obituary | The Guardian

Also known as Gordius.

St Barts

Inside No 9 | BBC2

You should watch this episode first

… then listen to the podcast to discover my indirect association.

The book in question is The Joy of Quiz.

See also: The Riddle of the Sphinx

The Shipping Forecast Puzzle Book | BBC Books

For every Shipping Forecast area, you find the places on the map indicated by various clues. Join the places to form the shapes of letters. Join the letters to form a sea shanty.

Out 5 November from your local bookshop / Penguin / Waterstones / Amazon etc.

It also gives a flavour of what it’s like to be in each of Dogger, Fisher, German Bight…

The Best of 2010-2015 Wipe | BBC2


Alternative Election Night | Channel 4

Not another one:

See also: Election Night Quiz; Election Lexicon

Richard Osman’s House of Games | BBC2

Series three of House of Games; 100 episodes.

See also: my book for Penguin, The Joy of Quiz

Have I Got News For You | BBC1

Series 58 begins 9pm, Fri 11 October.

Martin Clunes