I haven't done the Guardian's cryptic crossword for a while, but I tried the latest from Araucaria at lunchtime today. It was headed:
Special instructions: Araucaria has 18 down of the 19, which is being treated with 13 15. This puzzle was originally published in the December issue of the magazine, 1 Across.
As usual, I tinkered around the edges for a while, getting a couple of minor clues without grasping the big ones - and then, 18 down came to me: "sign of growth ". The rest gradually, and I do mean gradually, fell into place.
What a way to announce that you are dying - to construct a crossword on the theme of cancer and palliative care, and still have the cheek to include a clue like: "101o under the ice?"
Cryptic crosswords have made me laugh before, but I have never felt sadness before. I know nothing about the man save his clues - indeed, I didn't know his real name before reading this this evening. The tributes below the article and the crossword are beautiful.