Harold Park crossword setter swaps papers for paperbacks - and reveals truth about final News of the World grid

11:01 17 July 2012

Harold Park crossword setter Marc Breman with his e-book Crossworld (photo: Melissa Page)

Harold Park crossword setter Marc Breman with his e-book Crossworld (photo: Melissa Page)

Archant

It’s one down for the Harold Park crossword setter trading puzzles for pulp – he’s finished his first novel.

Marc Breman, of Colchester Road, has set thousands of crosswords across newspapers and magazines over the last 20 years – but now he’s won across interest with the self-published tale Crossworld, he’s hoping to attract a company to put out the book nationally.

“Crosswords are very solitary to write,” said the cruciverbalist, 51. “I don’t actually know any other compilers.

“I believe there are clubs for people who meet in houses and try to come up with different clues but I think that’s a bit weird, frankly.”

Marc’s writing first gained exposure last year – but it wasn’t his fiction that interested people. He set the infamous final crossword in the News of the World, which allegedly contained veiled references to News International’s disgraced chief exec Rebekah Brooks.

The national press believed clues like “woman stares wildly at calamity” invoked Ms Brooks’ struggle to keep the newspaper above water.

But one year on, Marc says it isn’t as black and white as all that.

“That crossword was submitted a week before the announcement that they were going to close down, so there’s no way I could have known,” he said. “That clue seemed to work very well with the famous photograph of [Rebekah Brooks] looking through the rain-spattered car window – but that photograph hadn’t even been taken.

“Maybe I should start a new career in psychic crosswords.”

Marc’s novel Crossworld centres around a man “trapped inside a crossword” who is forced to solve cryptic clues to resolve the issues he faces over the course of a day. He hopes to complete a trilogy in the same vein, before writing a fourth book about codebreakers at government decryption centre Bletchley Park.

During the Second World War, crosswords were used as a method of sending covert messages.

But Marc says he’s hidden hardly anything inside his crosswords.

“The 5000th grid I did for the Mirror had a pre-amble saying I had put the sum of all my knowledge into it,” he revealed. “I hid something like ‘hardly anything’ inside it.”

But the paper failed to print the explanation so no one got the joke. “‘Hardly anything’ became hardly anything,” he said.

Marc’s e-book Crossworld is available on Amazon for £2.05. For more information go to www.marcbreman.com.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Sunday, February 14, 2016
The flood alert covered large stretches of the Thames (Picture: Raymond Sheehy / Twitter)

Freezing conditions are expected to last well into Tuesday in London as snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures sweep the country.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Champagne experience

This Valentine’s Day, the Coca-Cola London Eye is the perfect destination for lovebirds, offering a range of romantic experiences from Friday 12th February - Sunday 14th February 2016.

Read more
Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport