YET ANOTHER FEATHER IN RAMKI’S CROWN
The 4th edition of the Indian Crossword League — IXL 2016 — spanning four months came to a close on Christmas in Bengaluru. The venue was Hotel Royal Orchid on Old Airport Road. The event was graced, among others, by Mr Om Prakash (IPS), DGP Karnataka.
Ramki Krishnan from Chennai was the winner, repeating the script of the last two editions in 2014 and 2015. His hat-trick at the offline Grand Finale followed 10 weekly online rounds between September and November 2016.
The contest was launched by Nasscom president R Chandrasekhar at the Civil Services Officers’ Institute (CSOI) in New Delhi on September 11, 2016.
Toronto (Canada) and New Jersey (US) winners – Ritesh Prasad and Mohit Mittal, respectively – could not make it to the Grand Finale because of prior engagements.
Addressing the audience and the participants, the Karnataka Police chief said, “IXL is a brilliant initiative to create a knowledge society and also to showcase India’s intellectual capital before the world.” He wished the initiative “a grand success”
It was sheer chutzpah, on the part of Extra-C, a not-for-profit organisation based in Patna, to take the road hardly trodden. The immediate provocation was to celebrate Arthur Wynne and the 100th anniversary of the first published crossword, his brainchild, in New York World.
Along the way we got companions, and how!
IXL 2013, the inaugural event, was a success beyond our expectations. Top wordsmiths came on this common platform to test their mental mettle. In Col Deepak Gopinath (retd), the country got the first crossword champion. The following year, he decided to sit out and became the Chief Arbiter of the event. The contestants came from beyond the shores as well. Ramki Krishnan, a software professional from Chennai and a wildcard entry to the Grand Finale, walked away with the champion’s trophy.
IXL 2015 took a continental leap. It first made a North American debut in Toronto and followed it with a round in New Jersey, US. In both the places, the format was offline and winners got direct entry to the Grand Finale. IXL 2016 too had a round each in Toronto and New Jersey. Ramki, the winner of IXL 2014, asserted his supremacy by winning the Grand Finale of both IXL 2015 and IXL 2016.
Today, there is a fraternity out there driven by one common passion – to solve cryptic crosswords. It’s because of them that the League is in a league of its own. The journey ahead lies with them.