UK & World News
Crossword Setter Araucaria Sets Cancer Clue
A well-loved national newspaper crossword setter has used one of his own puzzles to announce that he is terminally ill.
The Rev John Graham, who goes by the pseudonym Araucaria† - from the Latin for the monkey puzzle tree - as The Guardian's puzzle setter, revealed he was dying of cancer in Friday's crossword.
Above a cryptic crossword was the message: "Araucaria has 18 down of the 19, which is being treated with 13 15."
Readers who solved the puzzle discovered this meant he had cancer of the oesophagus, and was receiving palliative care.
Mr Graham, from Cambridge, told the Guardian: "It seemed the natural thing to do somehow. It just seemed right."
Doctors do not know how much longer he has to live.
The 91-year-old said he was touched by the reaction to his crossword, which first appeared in the 1 Across puzzle magazine in December.
"People have been ringing and sending me cards," he said. "It's been very nice, but I can't reply to them all."
He says he does not intend to refer to his illness in future crosswords.
"I should think this is a one-off because I don't know what else there will be to say," he added.
what do you think?
Such a cruel disease
Yes I have worked in a head and neck cancer department and it is indeed awful.
I hesitate to say this but, I have seen several cancer deaths and it is not the worst way to go. Senility for instance can be worse as can strokes which do not kill outright.
My father died 9 day's after my wedding after a 2 year battle with cancer so don't dare say it's not that bad of a way to go! My poor dad lost half his body weightwas unable to eat and lost all dignity and at the age of 52. So sorry to hear another dying due to this disease
I'm a nurse on a cancer ward and have also lost 3 members of my family to cancer, at the ages of 66, 59 and 34. I see cancer on a day to day basis. I think you are entirely wrong to think that it is not a bad way to go!!! I agree strokes are also horrendous! But cancer patients suffer such a traumatic time, and are truely inspirational! and I agree with the above comment, watching someone you love lose half their body weight and suffer so much pain is such a cruel way to die. No way to die is ever going to be nice, but you certainly cannot say cancer is one of the better ways to go!
pj none of us is enriched in any way by that statement.
I am genuinely sorry if I have upset anyone but I am now in what is probably the evening of my life and occasionally wonder what lies ahead. Having seen three of my Grandparents and my Mother go into a senile decay, that is my biggest dread.