September Update to the 2500 Clue Challenge

October 15, 2013 at 10:45 PM

I have just emailed this update to the 2500 Clue Challenge to my email list. If you want to be put on the list, then let me know at


Hello everyone! You’re receiving this email as you’ve expressed an interest in my 2500 Clue Challenge. If you don’t want to receive these updates, then send me a pack of chocolate digestives (or email me at and I’ll remove you from the list).

I’m two thirds of the way through the year, and the time has flown.

In September, I found the crosswords very tough! I solved 149 out of 598 clues (24.9%), taking me to 1849 clues in total. Overall, I’m now just under 3 days BEHIND schedule, whereas last month I was about 3 days AHEAD of schedule. That’s how tough a month I found it, I slipped almost a week. It’s strengthened my resolve, so let’s see how October goes!

September’s Clue Of The Month is a neat one from Paul (12/09/13): Though analogue isn’t a poisoner _ ? (9). (answer later!)

It’s time for my equivalent of an Ask Me Anything. I’ve asked for your questions [ideally about my experiences of depression], and I’ve hand picked the best ones to answer. Without further ado…

Firstly, I’ve been asked a couple of questions about the challenge itself: “Where do you find the time to do them? Genuinely, I thought you did it during the commute. But I don’t think that’s actually right.” – SR.

I used to, SR! When I was commuting to London, I used to do it on the train to Reading. Now during the underground commute, I may only have free space around me equal to that of a walnut, so that doesn’t really work. These days, I tend to have a first decent stab over lunch, and then continue digging at it during available points in the afternoon and evening.

Question: have you found the challenge worthwhile? Would you have set the rules any differently in retrospect?” – Ronald

Thanks Ronald, I certainly have found the challenge worthwhile for a couple of reasons. Firstly – just being mentally active during the week, and making me update the challenge regularly has been a great motivator for me. Secondly – opening up once a month about depression has hopefully been as helpful to you as it has been to me, I’ve found it quite cathartic. The fact that this challenge is raising money for ReThink, that’s an amazing bonus. In terms of the rules, there’s nothing I would change. If I were to do it again, I reckon the rules would all be exactly the same.

At what point would you recommend telling someone to get help?” – Scott.

Great question Scott. The thing about depression is it can sneak up on you without you realising it. I had it for months before realising. So, if you realise you’re not feeling yourself, I’d recommend seeing a doctor just to talk to someone AS SOON as you realise it. You certainly should if you feel sad or ‘not yourself’ for more than two weeks in a row. However, I’d actually not put the burden on you. I’d like friends and family to look out for you (and vice versa). Hopefully they’ll notice before you do that you’re not quite on top of the world, and they’ll either help you through it or let you know that you seem not quite yourself.

Last question for today, again from SR. “How do you deal with a lack of energy, one of the common symptoms.”

Personally, I deal with it by drinking quite a lot of coffee, tea, and coca cola. And that’s not good, certainly not in the quantities I consume. In fact, caffeine can actually make the situation worse as the body gets used to it over time, and it dehydrates the body as well. I’m currently weaning myself off of it. In terms of sleep, I tend to get up at the same time every day, and go to bed whenever I feel tired. That seems to help with the tiredness, even though one day I may go to bed at 9pm and the next at midnight, the sleep I get is sort of based on tiredness levels.

If you have more questions, then I’ll include them in the next update. They are always welcome.

Finally, the answer to Clue Of The Month is: DIGITALIS. If analogue isn’t a poisoner, then the ‘opposite’, DIGITAL, IS. And digitalis (or foxglove) is a poisonous flower. I like clues with rather different wordplay from normal, and this certainly qualifies. Well done Paul.

Until next month…