With five days to go, survival strategies must be readied. Rival nans separated at the dining table, the drinks cabinet charged, escape routes laid for the four-hour trial of the soul that is Strictly, Corrie and EastEnders. How to entertain Uncle Bert, while the turkey thaws upstairs in the bath?
Assistance is at hand. On the centre pages of Monday’s i, we present the Giant Crossword – 86 across, 82 down. The brainchild of our quizmaster Will Dean, it is set by Eimi, and inspired by Canada’s Globe and Mail, which runs a huge Christmas crossword each year (first prize: an elk). Will explains: “My uncle over there buys about eight copies of the paper” – splendid idea, please feel free to emulate – “so that they all have a go to see who can finish first. It lasts them over the holiday period.” In Canada, support groups have grown up around the crossword.
If you like a collaborative effort, I suggest leaving it on the table. For the competitive, you could photocopy the relevant pages, or buy up your newsagent’s stock of Monday i and distribute them among your guests. The answers will be published in next Friday’s paper, 27 December.
In other festive housekeeping: i on Christmas Eve (Tuesday) will carry the Quiz of the Year, compiled for us by Whitaker’s Almanack – six pages of teasers from the past 12 months, which is a long time in news. Your Christmas Eve paper will also hold two full days of TV, to carry you through to the next i on Boxing Day morning. (We’ll be here on Christmas Day producing an edition for you.)
And if you want a sneak preview, see this Saturday’s paper, where our television critics dig out the hidden gems from this year’s schedules. Yes we’ll preview all the drama big hitters – Downton, Sherlock et al – but also music, comedy, the arts and thrilling documentaries.