England

Bride to be says 'yes' to Times crossword proposal

Crossword clue
Image caption Mr Dick worked with the newspaper to place the message to his girlfriend

A woman has accepted an unusual marriage offer - after her boyfriend proposed using the The Times newspaper's cryptic crossword.

Matthew Dick, from London, arranged for puzzle editor Richard Rogan to place the message to his girlfriend Delyth Hughes inside Tuesday's cryptic teaser.

It is thought to be the first proposal since the crossword first appeared in the paper 85 years ago.

Ms Hughes, who is from Wales, said she was "dumbfounded" by the gesture.

The couple were celebrating Ms Hughes' birthday in Cornwall when Mr Dick presented her with the proposal.

The clues included "Pretty Welsh girl widely thought not to be all there" with the six-letter answer "Delyth", and "'Will you marry me', say, that's forward also rude!", to which the eight-letter answer was "proposal".

'Hands were shaking'

Another clue read: "Draw up a set of biblical books, ending in Matthew", while other answers to clues included "birthday" and "wishes".

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Media captionRichard Rogan explains how the clues were set

Mr Dick, 38, said: "I underlined the words 'will you marry me' which appeared in the clue, and the answer was proposal. My hands were shaking and I put my hands in my pocket to get the ring to propose.

The crossword enthusiast said his girlfriend "looked surprised" and did not say anything for thirty seconds before jokingly saying "No", followed by "Yes".

He said Ms Hughes, 39, "thought it was hilarious" but he "thought it was less hilarious".

She described the crossword proposal as a "typical" gesture for Mr Dick, who she described as "a smart-arse at the best of times".

"I was getting a bit teary and emotional, even if I did joke that I wouldn't marry him. I was dumbfounded that he'd gone to such lengths."

Mr Rogan, who lives in Cheltenham, was contacted by Mr Dick on Twitter.

He said he believed it was the first time The Times had included a proposal in one of its puzzles.

"We won't be doing it again," he added.

Image caption Crossword compiler Richard Rogan said the crossword proposal would be a one-off gesture

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