The Stickler Weekly Insights 190 – Out of Tune

I mentioned a while ago about the different types of publications I’ve had crosswords in. There have also been one-offs like advertising, special birthday cards, and the one I’m going to talk about today, a dynamic crossword published in a specialist Sydney newspaper. I was contacted by the newspaper’s editor who had this idea of using a major Sydney AM radio station to deliver clues for a crossword that was to appear (without clues) in her newspaper. This sounded like a great idea – making people buy her newspaper and listen to a radio station to get the clues. A boost for the newspaper and the radio station, you would think. The plan was to release the clues gradually during the day to encourage people to listen all day and all week. It turned out to be a complete failure, not because of the crossword (which was non-cryptic), but because no-one foresaw the response of the crossword-solving, radio audience. The radio station was flooded with calls demanding to know clues that had been aired previously, despite the rules that stated clues would be aired only once. Listeners didn’t like this, and insisted their clue shortfall be made up. You can imagine the time and resources the radio station put in dealing with disgruntled listeners who ultimately were given the outstanding clues. Needless to say, what sounded like a great idea ended up as a one-off never to be considered again. Both newspaper and radio station decided that even though there was a great response, reworking the idea so that it was workable and manageable wasn’t worth the effort.
Such is the life of a freelance crossword writer…

The Stickler

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