Dear Araucaria

A short documentary exploring the life of revered crossword setter John Graham.

Better known by his pseudonym Araucaria, John set the Guardian cryptic crossword for 55 years. In December 2012, crossword number 25,842 appeared in the paper with a series of clues that once solved, revealed a personal message from Araucaria to his puzzle-solving followers.

A puzzle in itself, this short film unpicks crossword number 25,842 to journey into John’s world of clue-making. Shifting between imagination and reality, Dear Araucaria meets the man who has given his life to crosswords and is only now coming to understand the dramatic impact he has had on a community of solvers.

Dear Araucaria won the Short Documentary Audience Award at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2015. The film was nominated for Best Documentary at the London Short Film Festival and Kindalr Sharks and screened at HotDocs, IDFA and AFI Docs. 

Made in partnership with the GUARDIAN and PULSE FILMS.

Directed by Matt Houghton.