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Genre Game show
Created by Jerry Payne
Presented by Barry Cryer (1985–7)
Tom O'Connor (1987–98)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 12
No. of episodes 435
Running time 30 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production company(s) Tyne Tees in association with Cove Productions and Action Time
Distributor ITV Studios
Original network ITV
Picture format 4:3
Original release 27 April 1985 (1985-04-27) – 23 December 1998 (1998-12-23)

Crosswits is a British game show produced by Tyne Tees in association with Cove Productions and Action Time and filmed from their City Road studios in Newcastle upon Tyne. It was first shown on 27 April 1985 originally hosted by Barry Cryer for the first 2 series, then comedian Tom O'Connor took over from series 3 until the show ended on 23 December 1998. The show consisted of two members of the public competing against each other to solve simple crossword puzzles. Each member of the public was helped out by a "celebrity" partner. The announcers for the show were generally Tyne Tees continuity announcers such as Judi Lines, Jonathan Morrell and Bill Steel.


Basically, the game was the same as its American counterpart, except that there were two players (one celebrity and one contestant) on each team instead of three. As in the American version, teams took turns solving words in a crossword puzzle (by virtue of clues), all of which are clues to a master puzzle. Each correct answer keeps control and earns one point per letter in the answer plus a chance to solve the master puzzle for 10 bonus points. On the first two series, which had been transmitted weekly, the teams played for pounds. Later in the run, teams always took turns whether they were right or wrong.

There were also special rounds in the game:

  • Anagram round - the first letter of every clue word make a key word.
  • Mystery round - finding a keyword after one clue without assistance from a clue word wins the contestant a small prize such as a cordless phone or a pocket TV.
  • Song round - all clues were lyrics to a well-known song.

The team with the most points when time runs out, wins the game and plays the same Crossfire round as the American version.

Crossfire round[edit]

The winning team was shown one last crossword puzzle, with 10 words none of which are clues to a master puzzle. The host reads rapid-fire clues to each of the 10 words. Each correct words brings the winning team extra closer to a holiday for the contestant, and if they can solve all ten in 60 seconds or less, they'll win the holiday, otherwise the winning player wins consolation prizes.


Series Start date End date Episodes Host
1 27 April 1985 20 July 1985 13 Barry Cryer
2 6 January 1987 7 April 1987 13
3 27 October 1987 17 December 1987 24 Tom O'Connor
4 25 April 1988 17 June 1988 40
5 15 May 1989 14 July 1989 45
6 9 April 1990 25 May 1990 35
7 29 April 1991 21 June 1991 40
8 13 April 1992 26 June 1992 55
9 17 May 1993 18 June 1993 25
10 4 April 1994 8 July 1994 70
11 21 October 1996 13 December 1996 40
12 6 January 1998 23 December 1998 35

Regional transmissions information[edit]


The first series was only broadcast in the Tyne Tees region on Saturdays.


From Series 2 onwards, it was networked on all ITV regions with the second series airing on Tuesday afternoons at 3:00pm (no episode aired on 17 March 1987 due to live coverage of Budget '87) and the third series airing on Tuesday to Thursday afternoons at 2:00pm, except for TVS, who did move the days and time around.


From Series 4-10, the show aired on Monday to Friday mornings at 9:25am, just after TV-am/GMTV had finished.


Series 11 aired on Monday to Friday afternoons, but was not networked. Depending on the region, Crosswits was broadcast at random times in certain areas.

  • Carlton, Central, Tyne Tees, Westcountry and Yorkshire aired the episodes at 1:25pm.
  • Ulster aired the episodes at 1:55pm.
  • Grampian aired the episodes at 2:50pm.
  • Scottish aired the episodes at 2:20pm four times a week and took until 31 December 1996 to complete.
  • Border and Granada aired the episodes at 5:10pm, but did not follow the same daily pattern and took until 31 December 1996 to complete.
  • Anglia and Meridian aired the episodes on most days at 12:55pm. Anglia continued to broadcast more episodes, finishing on 24 January 1997.
  • HTV aired over half the episodes at ?:??pm, but did not complete.


Series 12 aired on Tuesday to Thursday afternoons at 1:50pm for the first 32 episodes from 6 January to 19 March. The last 3 episodes were aired from 21 to 23 December 1998.

External links[edit]