The clue was “Harlequin’s love of a flower”. If you are an avid cryptic crossword follower, or happen to have a good knowledge of harlequins (and flowers) for some peculiar reason, you might know the answer quite easily. I happen to be neither. But, this clue was the cause of a very serendipitous moment today.
This clue was the critical one, the one that could unlock the entire remainder of the puzzle, yet it still did not bother me that I couldn’t get it. It’s not unusual for me to not complete a cryptic crossword, being a relative novice to the genre.
Late that day, a library trip. Completely and utterly nothing to do with harlequins or crossword clues. My literary pile included magazines on Australian contemporary art, textile arts, gorgeous homes, and books as diverse as Italian castles, blogging, Picasso’s complete works and a pile of random childrens picture books. As I sat browsing through my pile of books once I got home and what did I come across almost immediately, not one, but two completely separate references to Harlequins! One of course being Picasso’s famous painting of a lone harlequin (Seated Harlequin, 1905). Then completely separately in the very fabulous and modern UK based textile magazine Selvedge (Nov 2010), what do I find but an entire feature article Pantomime costumes of the past and present” detailing the role and costumes of the Harlequin!
The answer to my crossword clue was Columbine. Harlequin’s beloved. Dearest Columbine. Columbine is also a pretty meadow flower. So now you know too, if (like me) you didn’t before.
Its an odd feeling when a distinctive and unusual word (or a symbol or unknown person or image) keeps popping up in random places in a short time You feel like it must mean something. Like it’s trying to tell you something.
Serendipity is all around us.