27 across = Will you marry me? Norwich man hides proposal in cryptic crossword
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
It's a question of love (4,3,5,2).
It didn't take Rachael Herman long to solve the cryptic crossword puzzle to reveal the proposal on her seventh anniversary with Ed Fraser.
But she kept quiet until the puzzle was finished to let Mr Fraser, 30, 'sweat it out' to the end.
The couple, of Lakenham in Norwich, met in 2008 working at the sports bar in Barnham Broom. It was another three years of friendship before they became an item, and they will now tie the knot after Mr Fraser weaved his proposal into Thursday's EDP cryptic crossword.
He had spent two months writing the puzzle himself, with the help of Miss Herman's dad. The couple are avid crossword solvers, and Mr Fraser said it was the only way he would have proposed.
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'I agonised over it for a while,' he said. 'I could have really made Rachael work for it. My main concern was her getting it as soon as she saw it so I was guiding her around and away from the danger zone.'
He also made sure none of her answers were wrong by helping over her shoulder - ensuring the final answer matched.
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Miss Herman, 28, said: 'Ed was steering me through it all the way. In order for him to maintain the charade this was a normal crossword he pretended he was guessing them.'
But Miss Herman quickly unravelled the clue, which combined with question one, whose answer was: 'Edward does ask R.'
'I had seen the clue and doing the dividing lines I had worked it out,' she said. 'Rather than write it in I thought I would play my own little game and wait for Ed to sweat it out.
'After that I couldn't really concentrate any more. Finally I decided I would put him out of his misery.
'This was definitely the perfect way to do it as I am quite a private person and it was meaningful, informal and intimate. I love a cryptic crossword.'
The puzzle was also loaded with personal clues, like Hedwig, as Miss Herman loves Harry Potter, and Kava, which they drank on holiday in Fiji together.
Mr Fraser took the opportunity to apologise to any readers with the initial R, who may have been mistaken by the proposal.
He said: 'I hope we didn't cause too much heartache among readers and that they enjoyed the crossword.'