‘Can’t stop smiling!’ Girlfriend’s romantic leap day proposal by codeword puzzle
It was a puzzle that left Andy Goddard more stumped than most - but, in the end, the answer was very simple.
Because after sussing out the clues in this newspaper's weekend codeword, the delighted 28-year-old could only say yes to his girlfriend Liz Edwards' romantic - if puzzling - leap day marriage proposal.
The pair, who met two and a half years ago, discovered a mutual love for newspaper games to while away the time as they travelled on trains to see friends and relatives.
Having bonded over this newspaper's codeword on weekends together in Suffolk, Liz had already worked out that Andy was the one she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.
With 2020 being a leap year and the couple moving in together in Ipswich at the end of February, Liz decided it was the perfect moment to pop the question to Andy - in keeping with the February 29 tradition.
So given their shared love of puzzles, she contacted this newspaper to organise a specially-designed codeword which contained the words: "Andrew Goddard, will you marry me?"
It took 28-year-old Andy a little bit more brainwork than usual as the pair sat in the corner of Bury St Edmunds' Beerhouse pub, with the engineer saying: "I very slowly, embarrassingly, realised that my name was in the codeword.
"I was just really shocked and surprised.
"When it was written there at first, I thought it was a dream. I really did not see it coming.
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"But on reflection, it's perfect. We both love sitting in a quiet pub in the corner and doing a little puzzle.
"It's fantastic, really superb. Of course, I said yes.
"We get on like a house on fire. My life is so much more pleasant since we've been together."
NHS worker Liz admitted that she was more than a little nervous as she and Andy sat down to complete the codeword - not only hoping that he would spot the clues, but that he would agree to spending the rest of their lives together.
However the 29-year-old was relieved he said yes, saying afterwards: "I can't stop smiling!
"Generally in the relationship, he's the more romantic one. He does the romantic gestures. It seemed an appropriate time for me to make my romantic gesture.
"We do the codeword pretty much on a weekly basis at weekends. We do crosswords as well, but the codeword is a bit more challenging and rewarding.
"In the same way that you can do a crossword together, you can do the codeword together."
As Andy does not wear jewellery, Liz opted to give him a pen engraved with the words "codeword 2020" instead of a ring.
The couple, who also share loves for jazz, snooker, travelling and philosophy, hope to be able to learn how to sail together now they live near Ipswich Marina.