Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Crossword Puzzles

Tomorrow is the anniversary of D Day. On the 5th of June 1944, which would have been 74 years ago today, weather conditions and the forecast along the English Channel for a full scale invasion of Europe were a long way from ideal, and it was down to one man to make what must have been a very, very hard decision. The man's name was Eisenhower, he became the 34th President of the United States, his classic adage, "plans are useless, planning is indispensible." Two years before D Day, in the August of 1942, a force of around six thousand mostly Canadian soldiers had crossed the English Channel to conduct a raid on a French Port Town called Dieppe. The objective of the Dieppe Raid was to hold the Port Town for two tides and then scuttle back to the English Islands. The purpose of the Dieppe Raid had as much to do with demonstrating willingness to die on beaches as it had to do with gathering intelligence and learning lessons about how best not to die on beaches. Brave men indeed.

In the days leading up to the Dieppe Raid an English Newspaper called the Daily Telegraph had a crossword puzzle clue, "A French Port" and it was six letters. The answer was Dieppe. All hell broke loose in the security services, who quickly convinced themselves that the clue was obviously the work of a foreign agent disguised as a crossword puzzle compiler for the Daily Telegraph sending messages to the enemy. Intensive investigations concluded it was total coincidence. In the days leading up to D Day the Daily Telegraph's same crossword puzzle compiler again had innocent looking clues, very suspicious answers to which included, "Mulberry," which was the name for a secret floating harbor. "Utah," which was the secret name for one of the landing beaches near a small town that has the beautiful name of La Madeleine. And "Overlord," which was the secret name for the invasion of Europe. Again all hell broke loose in the security services, and again the answers to the clues were deemed entirely coincidental.

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