When senior Daily Express hack Stephen Pollard left the paper in 2001 after it was acquired by pornographer Richard Desmond, he used a report on farming to spell out the phrase “Fuck you, Desmond” with the first letter of each sentence. No surprise, then, that Rebekah Brooks demanded staff outside News of the World editorial screen the final edition of the rag for hidden messages inserted by soon-to-be-redundant staff

A report in The Guardian suggests that the crossword may have been overlooked. While sources close to Brooks have told Andrew Neil that she genuinely fears a spell in jail, clues include:

  • “Mix in prison”
  • “Will fear new security measure”

While hints for the quickie puzzle include

  • “Brook”
  • “Stink”
  • “Catastrophe”
  • “Criminal enterprise”

Hacks continued to articulate their anger in the answers:

  • tart
  • deplored
  • stench
  • disaster
  • menace
  • racket
  • desist
  • firewall [a reference to the internet security measures introduced to prevent staff leaking information from the newsroom]

Several News Corporation executives may yet have more time than they bargained for to complete cryptic crosswords (at Her Majesty’s pleasure).

  1. Really not sure your content justifies the headline. Amusing as it might be, I think if you are going to lambast the press on a regular basis (a project of which I wholeheartedly approve), I think you need to maintain higher standards than this article suggests.

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