Written By: Eman al-Jarady
Article Date: Jan 8, 2008 - 2:07:25 AM
Abdul-Karim Qasem, a Yemeni man in his forties, has managed to create the largest crossword puzzle in the world, and is currently under review for admittance to the international hall of fame known as the Guinness Book of World Records. According to Qasem, he has also managed to compile a book consisting of unique information that he gathered during his preparation and creation of this puzzle.
Qasem creates crosswords for some publications, including al-Arabi magazine and al-Moshahad newspaper. “I am crazy about playing this game; I used to play crosswords with my friends while we were chewing qat. The idea of creating the largest crossword in the world came to my mind in 2000. I used to surf the net to collect information about the game, and I decided to surf the Guinness World Records website to learn of the person who created the biggest crossword in the world. I wanted to know how he set up the squares and provided information for his game, “ said Qasem.
Qasem said that he wanted Yemen to have an entry in the world record book. “When I surfed the Guinness website, I found that the last person who did the biggest crossword in the world was a Tunisian. His puzzle had 1,800 squares, which makes me very enthusiastic to submit my game, which consists of 320,500 puzzle squares and includes more than 800,720 words in the clue book.”
Qasem added that he likes the number seven for many reasons. First of all, his lovely daughter is seven years old, and he has been working on this puzzle for the last seven years, during which he has experienced many beautiful things in his life. “When I decided to create this game, I started surfing the net in order to find unique information for my squares. I did not want my information to be repeated. This took a long time, but afforded me the opportunity to read many international books and websites.”
During this period of research, he decided to compile his own book of “wonderful and unique information” said Qasem. He pointed out that he did not write the book himself, but edited the information he collected from different books and websites, compiled for everyone’s benefit. “Editing this book took three years. As you know, it is not easy to collect the amount of information required for a big puzzle like mine.”
Qasem said that when he was doing his primary research, he was forced to buy the tools and requirements for his project from his own income, usually reserved for his family’s basic needs. “Many times I did not give my children what they needed because I was obsessed with rising to the challenge of breaking this record. Many times I did not provide my children with their simple and serious needs because of this endeavor.”
“When I first came to layout the last version of the game, I went to the local authority here in Ibb in order to ask them to support me. But what I really found was that they ignored me. They did not appreciate my work. They did not know that the world has changed, and we have to run after it in order to live a comfortable life.”
Qasem said that when he got tired of appealing to the local authority in Ibb, he decided to come to Sana’a to ask the Presidential Office to help support him. “When I asked President Saleh to help me, he immediately asked the Ministry of Culture to support me in any way I needed.” He said that when it came time to do the last version using what he was provided from the President, he did not have enough for his long game. However, instead of going to the President again to ask him for more support, he tried to discover other things that could help him within his game.
For example, the ink that he used in his game was a kind of medicine that is used to cure simple burns. “I could not use normal pens because my papers and the squares of the game were big which meant I had to write with ink that was clear on the papers. The only way that I found to do that was that specific medicine. I used to put this medicine into my pens and then use them in writing.”
Qasem said that after playing his games and challenging many people all around the world, he suffered from different kinds of illnesses. “Before I started my game, my sight was very good, and I did not need to use glasses. But my sight has become weak, which means I have to use glasses now. Another thing that I am suffering from is that my back is really hurting me. If I do any quick movement, it hurts me and I need to stay in bed for at least two days in order to be able to perform my normal duties.”
Qasem said that his name has not yet been written in the Guiness Book of World Records. “The officials from the encyclopedia have sent me the contract by which they can directly contact me. The next step is to send me the form where I will write all the information about my game, such as what kind of paper I used and other details about the game. Then I am supposed to send them the primary samples before travelling to London. to finish the other steps.”
• Yemen Mobile develops special packages systems for internet services
• Love and Peace in Yemen spread through “Color your Street Wall” Campaign
• Yemen ministry of interior initiates the “Arab Traffic Week” under the slogan “Until when?”
• Yemen Ex president’s loyalists gather in “love of democracy and unity”
• Mysore Palace opens its third branch in Algeria Street