Former News of the World (NoW) staff apparently got the last laugh when sending a parting shot to Rebekah Brooks, former editor of the now-defunct British tabloid, by subtly referring to her “arrogance” in the paper’s final edition crossword puzzle.
Shutting down after a phone hacking scandal, the embattled tabloid’s final Quickie puzzle offered clues such as “stink”, “Brook” and “catastrophe.” Other clues in the Cryptic Crossword included “criminal enterprise”, “string of recordings”, and “mix in prison.”
Among answers for the clues were “disaster”, “stench”, “tart”, and “racket”.
Brooks reportedly hired two journalists with a Sun allegiance to go over every word and line in the final edition searching for libel phrases or mocking messages directed her way.
According to the Telegraph, sources told the Daily Mail: “Rebekah tried everything to stop the staff having the last word and she utterly failed.”
Despite the former chief executive’s efforts to control those parting shots, the sources added the proofreaders “failed and we’ve had the last laugh.”
Brooks faces an immediate future of police questioning over the phone hacking scandal. A News International source states she will be considered a witness, not a suspect, the Daily Mail reports. Others involved in the epic failure include three police officers and nine journalists, possibly facing jail terms.
In addressing NoW staff on Friday, Brooks said: “This is not exactly the best time in my life but I'm determined to get vindication for this paper and for people like you,” the Telegraph reports, noting the meeting was secretly recorded.
An unidentified male staffer responds: “There's an arrogance that you think we would want to work for you,” which led to cheers from fellow workers.
Among the most vindictive clues in the puzzle was the phrase “woman stares wildly at calamity”, believed to be a reference to Brooks’ appearance as she stares out a car window after the announcement of NoW’s ending.