Crossword writer hides Coronavirus clues in puzzles

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The InQuire equivalent of the holy grail, Matthew Sapsted, has been creating the puzzles section for the newspaper for a long time now and the devilish difficulty and cryptic nature of his puzzles is well noted by those whose who have attempted his crosswords and Sudoku. However, there has been one clue that we have all been missing for weeks. Matthew Sapsted has been leaving hints about Coronavirus in his puzzles all term, even before the outbreak began over a month ago.

Whilst Matthew is not alone in predicting the severity of Coronavirus, a certain satire editor suggested quarantining people over a month ago, he has certainly had knowledge about this for a long time and has been trying to warn us all. However, his faith in our collective puzzling skills has been misplaced and we were not as prepared as he had enabled us to be.

For example, in the most recent edition of InQuire, which was released on Friday 13th March (and yes this was a clue) there were a number of clues that we have been able to decipher. For example, in the crossword, his use of Boa as 22 across and poisonous as 23 across is a clear reference to the consumption of atypical animals that led to the outbreak to begin with, and the significance of it being next to poisonous is particularly key as it naturally connotes that the disease spreading across the globe will be damaging to the whole world. This, especially taken with the additions of coma (an inactive state much like self-quarantine) and grieve (referring to the high death toll). It does not stop here as the number 22 that has boa, often symbolises intuition, showing that Matthew was trying to tell us to use our instincts to deal with this virus. Additionally, number 23 is a message from angels telling you to believe in yourself. Matthew is reassuring us that if we use our intuition then our guardian angels will help us get through this destructive disease. In this scenario, Matthew is obviously our guardian angel and we have failed him.

It does not end there in the current edition. In the Sudoku, the top line supplies the player with the numbers 3,4,2, and 9. On their own this is not a clue. But if you add the 3 and the 2 before multiplying it by 9 and dividing by 4 then you get 11.25. Again, we are not done, we must separate this. Not into 11 and 25, but into 12 and 15. In numerology 12 is of great significance as it signifies completion. 15 signifies the manifestation of a harmonious life. Sapsted is trying to communicate that we should conclude our past actions, as we must self-isolate, but not to panic about it, to keep calm even in these difficult times, a hint that the state of supermarkets will show you has not been heeded.

Those are only the clues that I have found so far, but there is no doubt in my mind that there are more. The only way to know for sure is for all of us to pick up as many copies of InQuire as we can and search for the messages that Matthew Sapsted has been sending us all along. Copies can be found in Co-op, Templeman Library, and Woody’s amongst other locations.

Views expressed in InQuire's satire articles are those only of the writer and InQuire does not endorse any of these opinions, this section is dedicated to entertainment purposes only. We use fictitious characters in our stories, except in regards to public figures being satirised directly.

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