The picture associated with this post shows the envelope I sent off earlier this week containing my completed crossword grid for their weekly competition. The prize is to see your name in print, and a dictionary, or set of dictionaries (depending on whether you come first or are a runner up). I don't particularly need either of those things, but I enjoy the ritual of not only doing the crossword, but putting it in an envelope and paying the postal service to convey it to the newspaper offices, then flicking through the paper the next week to see if my name has been drawn from a hat.
This will be the last time I will be sending off the crossword to the Independent on Sunday. The very last print edition comes out this coming Sunday, 20th March, and I will not be in the country that day to get a paper copy. Part of me will miss it, but I can always switch to another newspaper, though I do like the crossword style in the Independent. It seems to be inevitable that print newspapers will come to an end. I'm not sure I will really shed too great a tear. In many ways I found the Independent a frustrating thing: A newspaper that purported to appeal to left-leaning people of a non-partisan nature with somewhat progressive ideals, but then the first edition of the Independent on Sunday that I picked up after the announcement that they were ceasing print publication contained a supplement on picking the best private schools to send your kids to. When it came to such "lifestyle" articles, they were clearly always aiming at a small percentage of well-paid people, which I thought was a bit ridiculous, but probably says something sad and true about how the existing newspapers receive funding, how they peddle influence, and what they thought of the downtrodden masses they thought they were treating sympathetically. Really, the democracy of social media is something that appeals to me much more. A single newspaper might be much cheaper than a device with which one can access Twitter, but a smartphone contract costs less than a daily newspaper and provides other functionality.
I'm not around on Sunday because I'm going to Australia tomorrow. I've never been before. Doesn't quite seem real that I'll be there next week.