For as long as I can remember I've been a crossword addict, graduating from the standard "find the synonym" type through the Saturday New York Times ones with their quirky themes to the London Sunday Times cryptics. In Canada, The Sun newspaper obligingly runs the latter two every weekend. Although I didn't buy the paper (too much newsprint to recycle) my dear friend Basil, lifelong librarian that he is, has been faithfully clipping and sending me my weekly fix for some years, and continues to do so even though I'm now on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.
Meanwhile, I've discovered that The Australian newspaper runs three crosswords in their Saturday edition: an easy synonym type, and two challenging cryptics, one obviously local and the other an import from the UK. The paper even offers a free Australian dictionary as a prize for the first correct solution to the local cryptic opened each week, so of course if I can fill in all the squares I send mine off with hope that I'll be the lucky winner. After more than 25 years of living overseas, I'm quite proud of myself when I do complete one of these, as there is always at least one answer relating to an Australian placename, animal, politician or celebrity. In the example here, 17 Down is the name of a town in the state of Victoria, which I only remembered because it appears in a poem I read in high school. 6 Down, 19 Down and 10 Across spell out the full name of an Australian film director. OK, for once it's somebody with an international reputation, but who knew his middle name was Lindsay?? I think I ought to get extra credit for effort in these circumstances, but of course I never win. So far anyway. Michael thinks that by the time I do, I'll have spent enough money on stamps to have bought the darned dictionary several times over. He just doesn't understand the thrill of the pursuit!