Friday, May 25, 2007


I wish Call My Bluff was still going. One day I think it will return. It's been away and come back before. When I'm a proper old man I'd like to spend some years being a team captain on Call My Bluff. It seems like the perfect job for a man of senior years. Not that anyone will best the Muir/Marshall or Coren/Toksvig axes both of which were sublime. Rod Liddle? Sorry. That just wasn't right.

Bearing this in mind you can probably imagine how delighted I was to be asked to write a foreword to a collection of the Observer's Everyman cryptic crosswords. Truly.

In their previous collections the forewords have been written by the acting greats, Prunella Scales and Timothy West and I think it was about time they looked outside their marital home. It amuses me to have done it because, well, because I don't think people probably regard it as the kind of thing someone of my generation should be doing. I'm sure a huge proportion of people who buy the book won't have a clue who I am but every now and then, someone is going to pick it up, see my name and think, 'What? Him? The ill-defined comic and story-teller chap who vainly doesn't like it when people think he's a stand-up? What an odd choice.' And really that's reason enough for doing it.

And if I'm wrong and people see it and think, 'Of course... that's exactly the kind of thing I'd expect him to do' well that's okay too. Because somehow, I think that every time someone thinks that, I get a little bit closer to my goal of the Call My Bluff team captaincy-pension plan.

Amazon: Chambers Book of Everyman Crosswords

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