Crossword History: Dawe and D-Day

approaching_omaha

[Image courtesy of Wikipedia.]

June 6, 1944 is a date that will continue to resonate for decades to come, and perhaps centuries. On that day, D-Day, the largest amphibious military attack in history was launched as the Allied forces landed at Normandy. This was one of the major offensives that helped bring about the end of World War II.

But a few days before that, a curious confluence of events brought crosswords to the attention to British agents, namely those of MI5.

Yes, tomorrow, June 2, 1944, marks the anniversary of the day a physics teacher and crossword constructor named Leonard Dawe was questioned by authorities after several words coinciding with D-Day invasion plans appeared in London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

crosswords_2893522b

More specifically, the words Omaha (codename for one of Normandy’s beaches), Utah (another Normandy beach codename), Overlord (the name for the plan to land at Normandy on June 6th), mulberry (nickname for a portable harbor built for D-Day), and Neptune (name for the naval portion of the invasion) all appeared in Daily Telegraph crosswords during the month preceding the D-Day landing.

So, the authorities had to investigate the highly improbable, yet still possible, scenario that Dawe was purposely trying to inform the enemy of Allied plans, and scooped up the constructor to investigate.

In the end, no definitive link could be found, and consensus is that Dawe either overheard these words (possibly mentioned by the loose lips of soldiers stationed nearby) and slipped them into his grids unwittingly, or this is simply an incredible coincidence.

Some crossword fans suspect that there’s more to the story, though.

history_post

According to The Guardian newspaper:

During the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of D-day, one of Dawe’s former pupils approached the Telegraph and insisted that as a lad, he had overheard US and Canadian soldiers discussing the plans, picked up on the codewords, and suggested them to his headmaster as possible entries.

This has been dismissed by most historians as an attempt to rewrite or embellish an already baffling story.

Nonetheless, it’s possible that, somewhere, some document connecting Mr. Dawes and the codewords is waiting to be discovered.

Until then, it simply remains a curious moment in crossword history.


Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything PuzzleNation!

You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore the always-expanding library of PuzzleNation apps and games on our website!

A puzzly mystery on Lake Coeur d’Alene

Answering questions is an integral part of many puzzles. Whether you’re cracking a brain teaser, solving a riddle, or unraveling a tricky crossword clue, the fun lies in working out the solution.

But sometimes, a puzzly mystery arises somewhere far more unexpected.

Like the time a giant metal die appeared in the shallow beachside waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho last month.

metaldie3_1490055674511_9000943_ver1-0

[All images courtesy of KREM 2 News.]

Reports of the enormous die — which was 6 feet by 6 feet and made of steel — began appearing over the weekend of March 18th, along with photos taken by curious passersby.

It was removed by town officials by the following Monday afternoon, leaving residents baffled.

But a little detective work by locals would later reveal the giant die’s origins.

image6_1490116962939_9005780_ver1-0

Apparently, the metal box itself washed up on the shore on Driftwood Point in 2008, its origins still unknown. The Gridley family, tired of looking at the old thing, decided to decorate it like a gaming cube. This led locals to call the area “Dice Beach.”

Years later, floodwaters washed the giant die away from Dice Beach, and the curiosity landed on a different shore, one mystery begetting another.

The die has now been relocated near a skatepark in downtown Coeur d’Alene, where it still attracts attention and the occasional photo op.

image3_1490116962867_9005779_ver1-0

So keep your eyes peeled, folks. You never know when a puzzly mystery might show up on your doorstep. (Or the beach near your house.)


Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything PuzzleNation!

You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore the always-expanding library of PuzzleNation apps and games on our website!