Crossword puzzles with big prizes were a big draw for newspapers and magazines in the time before the internet.
The Illustrated Weekly of India, among others, ran giant puzzles to keep readers and subscribers hooked, and its wordsmith Raju Bharatan had quite a reputation setting it.
As The Times of India dumbed down in the 1990s it dumbed down the crossword too, getting rid of the harder cryptic puzzle in favour of simpler puzzles to keep more readers interested.
Now, as the paper battles the post-COVID era with declining circulations and reader interest, the Crossword puzzle is back, with 15 prizes of Rs 9,999 each.
But as with all things TOI, no one knows for how long, but for now the crossword is being to build subscriber databases with a referral programme.