When I have a whole day to spare and I want to spend it getting a headache, I like nothing better than to attempt the Guardian prize crossword. They’re usually set by Araucaria, a setter of fiendish reputation. Probably his best known crossword clue was an enormous anagram to do with Jeffrey Archer.
Sadly that one was before my time, but I am glad to have encountered another gem of his in the prize puzzle on the 5th of February:
Wee dram for a Glaswegian: the rot’s mended: ‘Who wrote a Zimbabwean Othello’ (5,3,1,9,4,5)
I pretty soon figured out that it was an anagram of “Wee dram for a Glaswegian: the rot” but I couldn’t make head or tail of the rest. A good deal of head scratching later, it finally clicked that the answer was the first line of a purpose-written limerick, of which the second line was “Who wrote a Zimbabwean Othello”. From the letters available and the pattern of the answer I could even get as far as “There was a [something] from [somewhere]“, but it still took another fair while and a couple of paracetamol before I finally cracked it. Ever since, I’ve been chuckling every time I think about it: