Sunday, 12 June 2022

Never a cross word

The crossword competition laid in the first edition

Earlier this month, the Guardian's crossword blog writer wrote a nice little piece about, well, crosswords, and their contribution to developing the reader's understanding of Len Deighton's famous 'unnamed spy' - later, of course, Harry Palmer.

The article looked in particular at Horse Under Water, the second book in the series but the only one of the four main books not turned into a film starring Michael Caine (the producer Harry Saltzman chose to film Funeral in Berlin first, because in the mid-60s the city had become the hot-spot of the Cold War, so to speak, and he thought it would make a better movie. While there were some early plans for a Horse Under Water film, nothing - sadly - ever materialised)

The piece recalls that, famously, the chapter headings in Horse Under Water are in the form of crossword puzzle clues, and that the crosswords on the endpapers of the original first edition drew on clues which in effect, when solved, created a sort of table of contents for the book.

I'm pleased - after getting in touch - that they used a couple of my images and provided a link to the page I have on the main Deighton Dossier website specifically to do with the crosswords in this book. In the Bernard Samson series, in London Game, Bernard Samson too is found toying with a crossword, using it to elicit a false answer from Giles Trent's sister to get to the bottom of the former's attempted suicide and his potential guilt as a London Central spy.

1 comment:

  1. As a crossword fan its use in 'Horse Under Water' was an amusing addition to the style of the Harry Palmer books that I immediately took to. It certainly complemented the public service scenery that the character inhabits- enduring the tedium of the job with the available distractions of the time. It is among my favourites of Deighton's with 'An Expensive Place to Die' and 'Funeral in Berlin'. As you have posted over the years many would love to see films of #2 and #5 and the comments from your last post refer to the question of 'Horse Under Water' after the latest, well shot and cast- 'Ipcress File'.
    At the risk of rehashing this as a topic do we know if the Saltzman company or whomever else may still have the rights/options and intentions on filming Secret Files #2 and #5?