Yemeni man creates world's largest crossword puzzle

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Yemen's Abdul-Karim Qasem, who creates crosswords for publications like al-Arabi magazine and the newspaper al-Moshahad, has created a puzzle more than 3 times larger than the current recognized record holder.

Qasem's puzzle, currently in the initial stages of review with the Guinness World Records, includes 320,500 "puzzle squares", easily topping the previous high of 91,000 squares. The accompanying book of clues for the puzzle is 800,720 words long.

Qasem learned of the previous record when visiting the Guinness World Records website in 2000. He took the next seven years to research unique information for the puzzle, from in various international books and websites. "I did not want my information to be repeated," he told the Yemen Observer.

He told the Observer that, during the seven years, he ignored his children's "simple and serious needs", and bought supplies for the project with funds reserved for basic family needs.

The man asked the local authorities in Ibb for support, but was met with indifference. However, when he visited the Presidential Office in Sana'a, President Ali Abdullah Saleh immediately asked the Ministry of Culture to "support [him] in any way [he] needed."

Finding ballpoint pen ink wasn't clear enough on his paper, Qasem filled his pens with a medicine meant for curing simple burns. Despite this effort, his once "very good" eyesight has weakened, forcing him to wear glasses. His back also hurts from the experience, and any quick movement hurts him to the extent that he is bedridden for the next two days.

Guinness' press staff told Wikinews that the organization has no records for this man's name, but say he may simply be too early in the record confirmation process to be registered.


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