Crosswords provide a useful mental stimulus for the pensioner, whether tackling the complex cryptic versions found in the Observer and Times or the relatively simple ones in the Sun, in which every word is a synonym of ‘page’, ‘three’ or ‘stunner’.

Many publications offer prizes for their crosswords, and with a little application, these can provide a valuable source of extra income and a ready source of dictionaries, olive oil and foreign language DVDs.

General knowledge crosswords will confirm how thankfully out of touch you are with celebrities, computer terminology and American politics, and thus offer invaluable reassurance as to your current level of useful awareness.

Competition crosswords should always be submitted in large red envelopes, with several pins or razor blades protruding through the envelope in order to catch the attention of the work placement student whose job it is to select the winners.

Many famous people, such as Jason Statham and Robert Mugabe, enjoy crosswords, as do a number of much loved fictional characters, including Inspector Morse, King Kong and Paddington Bear.

In order to derive maximum benefit from crosswords, you should set a time limit on completion, extracting one head hair for each unsolved clue until you’re completely bald. At that stage, you can proceed to cutting off your fingers until you can only fill in the answers by holding a pen or pencil in your mouth.