Here’s a cryptic tale. A national newspaper has been threatened with libel over a crossword clue.
Apparently the clue asked a question about the romantic interest of a young actress.
Sky News’ Simon Bucks writes on his blog: “Not long after it appeared, a letter was delivered to the paper’s managing editor from one of London’s top libel lawyers. It said they represented a young man, also an actor. They complained that the number of letters in the answer to the clue was the same as the numbers of letters in the surname of their client!
“Since he was adamant that he was NOT stepping out with the young woman in question, he had been potentially libelled, so would the paper a) promise not to do it again, b) pay his costs and c) pay damages.”
It sounds like a case of a minor celeb and a money-grubbing lawyer seeking to shake-down a newspaper for a quick buck. The sad thing is that the financial risk of defending any libel action is so great that they may be forced into a pragmatic payout.