Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Two Girls, One on Each Knee

I've just finished a once-in-a-lifetime index, for a book on the history of the crossword! I doubt such a perfect job will ever come along for me again (indexers usually index books on subjects they're familiar with). And I was asked to put cryptic clues and jokes into the index! This is very rare, and was a huge amount of fun! I am mentioned in the text as a cryptic setter, so had the unusual situation (again, very rare) of indexing my own name.

A few of the sillier entries, to whet your appetite:

  • sloppy teaching, see cheating [a 'sloppy' version (or anagram) of teaching is cheating]
  • torturers, see setters
  • victims, see solvers

Cover of Two Girls, One on Each Knee by Alan Connor
The book, Two Girls, One on Each Knee: The Puzzling Past of the Cryptic Crossword is by Alan Connor (who writes frequently for The Guardian crossword blog), and is being published by Penguin. It will be out in a few months' time, so keep an eye out for it.

The book is very interesting and well-written, and actually covers the history of the crossword in general (not just cryptics), including American crosswords. Anyone who is interested in crosswords will enjoy this book — put it onto your Christmas wish list! And make sure you read the index  ;)

Monday, 2 September 2013

It was meant to be ...

My mother recently sent me the index I wrote to my extensive Cricket magazine collection, which I created for my kids when they were little. I had completely forgotten I'd created it. I was in my 20s when I did this! All hand-written into an index book (with alphabet tags on the sides of the pages).

I used symbols to indicate whether an entry was an article, recipe, activity etc. The numbers are (volume, issue) - no page number included.

In 1982 I wrote an index for a microwave cookbook that didn't have one, for my future mother-in-law, when I was 18.

And I didn't know indexing was a 'real profession' until a couple of years ago, just before I did my training! LOL