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Crosswits logo.jpg
GenreGame show
Created byJerry Payne
Presented byBarry Cryer (1985–87)
Tom O'Connor (1987–98)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series12
No. of episodes436
Running time30 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production companiesTyne Tees in association with Cove Productions and Action Time
DistributorITV Studios
Original networkITV
Picture format4:3
Original release3 September 1985 (1985-09-03) –
23 December 1998 (1998-12-23)
Related showsThe Cross-Wits (US version)

Crosswits was 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 3 September 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. A "celebrity" partner helped each member of the public. The announcers for the show were generally Tyne Tees continuity announcers such as Judi Lines, Jonathan Morrell and Bill Steel.


Teams consist of two players (one celebrity and one contestant), solving words in a crossword puzzle (by virtue of clues), with 6 words to solve, with a clue word, all of which are clues to a keyword which links the 6 answers. Each correct answer keeps control and earns one point per letter in the answer plus a chance to solve the keyword 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 answer in the crossword puzzle makes the keyword.
  • 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. The other player received a dictionary and thesaurus.

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 clues in 60 seconds or less, they'll win the holiday, otherwise the winning player wins a gold pen and pencil set.


Series Start date End date Episodes Recorded
1 3 September 1985 3 December 1985 13 1985
2 5 January 1987 30 March 1987 13 1986
3 27 October 1987 17 December 1987 24 1987
4 25 April 1988 17 June 1988 40 1988
5 15 May 1989 14 July 1989 45 1989
6 9 April 1990 25 May 1990 35 1990
7 29 April 1991 21 June 1991 40 1991
8 13 April 1992 26 June 1992 55 1992
9 17 May 1993 18 June 1993 25 1993
10 4 April 1994 8 July 1994 70 1994
11 21 October 1996 13 December 1996 40 1996
12 6 January 1998 23 December 1998 36 1997

Regional transmissions information[edit]


The first series aired on Tuesday afternoons at 3 pm, apart from TVS who aired the series on Thursday afternoons at the same time.

Early 1987[edit]

The second series aired on Monday evenings at 6:30 pm in the Tyne Tees region. The rest of the regions aired the series on Tuesday afternoons at 3 pm.

Late 1987[edit]

The third series aired on Tuesday to Thursday afternoons at 2 pm, apart from TVS who aired the series on Monday afternoons at 3 pm, but did not air all the episodes, and Channel who aired the series on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons at 3 pm.


From the fourth series up until the tenth series, the show aired on Monday to Friday mornings at 9:25 am, just after TV-am/GMTV had finished.


The eleventh series aired on Monday to Friday afternoons but was not networked. Depending on the region, it aired at random times in certain areas.

  • Carlton, Central, Tyne Tees, Westcountry and Yorkshire had shown the series at 1:25 pm.
  • Ulster aired the episodes at 1:55 pm.
  • Grampian put the shows out at 2:50 pm.
  • Scottish aired the episodes at 2:20 pm, but only four times a week.
  • Border and Granada aired the episodes at 5:10 pm most days.
  • Anglia and Meridian aired the episodes on most days at 12:55 pm. Anglia continued to broadcast more episodes, finishing on 24 January 1997.
  • HTV aired over half the episodes at 2:25 pm, but did not complete the run.


The twelfth series aired on Tuesday to Thursday afternoons at 1:50 pm for the first 33 episodes from 6 January to 19 March. The last 3 episodes aired from 21 to 23 December 1998.

External links[edit]