Crossword compiling is usually an inoffensive pastime (unless your name is Leonard Dawes and you inadvertently put the names of Overlord code names into the Telegraph crosswords in the run up to D Day!)but it looks as if it can be a dangerous undertaking in Venezuela.
Venezuelan crossword-writer Neptali Segovia has been accused of hiding a coded message to assassinate President Hugo Chavez's brother in a crossword and was interviewed by intelligence agents, following an accusation by state TV pundit Perez Pirela.
Segovia has denied any subversive intentions. and the case has caused laughter in some circles but Pirela, who uses an early evening TV show to lay into Chavez opponents, said a group of mathematicians, psychologists and others had studied the Spanish-language crossword and concluded it was a coded assassination plot.
Answers to clues included "Adan", "asesinen" (meaning "kill") and "rafaga" (which can mean either a burst of gunfire, or a gust of wind).
Six officers from Venezuela's intelligence service had visited the newspaper's editorial offices on Thursday asking for information about Segovia. After that, he went voluntarily to the intelligence service's headquarters to give a statement, it said.
"I am the first to want to clarify this. I have nothing to hide because the work I have been doing for the last 17 years has only a cultural and education intention, and is transparent," Segovia was quoted as saying.
"I was treated respectfully. They took down my comments and made a routine summary. Then they took me home."
Another newspaper, the militantly pro-opposition Tal Cual, lampooned the Chavez government last week with a front-page crossword highlighting the nation's ills. Clues included: "What officials do when they misuse public funds" (Corruption); Perhaps the most abused law? (Constitution); and "Name of supreme leader who governs our destiny? Bearded." (Fidel Castro).
Well there you have it..... make of it what you will