Who put the Ball in the English Net?

Who put the Ball in the English Net?

I received the following email from stand-up comedian Dave Gorman that focuses in part on his obsession with crosswords:

Hello you,

Blimey, these are odd times. Whatever your circumstances, I do hope that you’re finding ways of coping.

The last time I sent you an email – which was many moons ago – I mentioned that I had started setting the occasional crossword for the Independent using the pen name, Bluth. I continue to set for the Independent – 12 so far – and have another one in on Saturday (I think). I’ve even had to get another pen name for another title too: I’m occasionally Django in the Telegraph. I say occasionally… I’ve had two in, so far.

I mention all of this because there is a crossword related event coming up that I think will probably appeal to some of you, whether you’re a seasoned solver or merely crossword-curious.

In February I’ll be joining the incredible John Halpern for a zoom event, raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital in memory of a dear friend. John is probably best known as Paul – his nom-de-puzzle in the Guardian, but he’s also Mudd in the FT, Dada in The Telegraph, Mara in The Times and Punk in the Independent. He’s been doing it for ages and is surely the world’s number one setter. Quite why he’s allowing a newbie like me to stand in his shadow is anyone’s guess.

Anyway… on the evening of February 12th, the two of us – and you if you want to – will be setting a themed crossword together on zoom on the topic of Madness. (The band, not the current malaise)

If that sounds like your sort of thing, you can sign up for it by clicking on this link.

It’s free to join, but obviously we’d encourage anyone who feels able to donate to Great Ormond Street by way of a thank you. Cheers!

I am a big fan of Dave Gorman’s work as I mentioned in the introduction to my first book, Every Silver Lining has a Cloud. If you haven’t read this modern masterpiece then you can purchase a copy by clicking here.

By talking about his passion for creating crosswords, Gorman reminded me that I actually created a fanzine-style quiz book focusing on Wrexham AFC back in the infancy of the 21st century. It was entitled Who Put The Ball in The English Net? This was back in our Football League years and I was based in Inverness at the time, something that probably accounted for the dismal sales. It was produced as a fundraiser for WINS – the Wrexham AFC Independent Supporters group – and totalled about 5 sales, not at all the impact I was hoping for.

It would be good if I could reproduce my quiz book on this blog, I didn’t think I would be able to do this, but thanks to some assistance from a technically minded PA, I have managed to reproduce the crossword I created, and the associated clues, below:

The clues to this crossword maybe a little smaller than I would have liked, but this is the best I can do with my limited technical experience. I will consider putting more copies of the original quiz book should the demand be there, but I am not holding my breath even though interest in Wrexham AFC is at an all-time high with the Hollywood takeover speeding through the pipeline.

It would be good to rejuvenate this tired and unpopular side project now that our football club is due to attract many new supporters. There is nothing worse than a football fan who knows nothing about the history and tradition of the club that they follow.

By the way, if you are wondering who put the ball in the English Net, the answer is a mighty fine individual named Arthur ‘fucking’ Europe…

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