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The Guardian

Guardian crossword compiler reveals he has terminal cancer through one of his puzzles


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

January 12, 2013 | 1 min read

The Guardian crossword creator, Rev John Graham, has used the medium he knows best to disclose that he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer: a crossword.

Under the pseudonym Araucaria, he wrote the clue: “Araucaria has 18 down of the 19, which is being treated with 13 15.”

The answers to the special set of instructions for cryptic crossword No 25,842 were cancer, oesophagus and palliative care. The solutions to some of the other clues were: Macmillan, nurse, stent, endoscopy, and sunset.

Graham, 91, said that the puzzle had not taken him long to devise: “It seemed the natural thing to do somehow. It just seemed right. I should think this is a one-off. I don’t know what else there will be to say.”

Although he does not know how long he has left to live, he said that he plans to continue setting several puzzles a month, as he has done for more than 50 years.

The Guardian

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