On 31 January we started a new game of Express Bingo. The rules were simple: when one of the following appeared on the front page of the Daily Express (Monday to Saturday), it was crossed off until the card was complete - but how long would that take?
We now know the answer - 29 days. 29 days to get to this point:
Here's how the game unfolded. We got off to a flying start on Day 1 with a hattrick of 'Weather', 'Fuel Bills' and 'The EU' all on the front page:
Then on Day 2 we crossed off 'How To Live Longer' leaving the card a third complete after just two days:
On Day 3 we drew a blank. There was a Weather story on the front page (of course), but we'd already crossed that off. However, Day 4 brought better news with a cure for Diabetes and a Pensions story alongside the ubiquitous, but already crossed off, Weather story (of course).
Day 5 and Day 6, things started to slow down a little. First there was a How To Live Longer story and the Weather (of course) but we didn't need either of those again. Then there was a Pensions story and the obligatory, but now unnecessary, Weather story (of course).
Day 7 brought a double, with a story about grapes curing Alzheimer's and advancing hordes of Foreigners! There was also a Weather story (of course):
However, on Day 8 we drew a blank and we didn't fair much better on Days 9 and 10. Both had classic 'Express Bingo' stories but we'd already crossed off both Pensions and How To Live Longer.
It seems incredible to think the Express had gone 10 days without an Arthritis, Benefits or House Prices story. Apparently Kate Middleton's absence could be explained by the fact she was on holiday on the private island of Mustique.
Day 11 saw Alzheimer's on the front again, Day 12 was The EU - neither of which moved us on at all. But Day 13 saw the return of Kate Middleton. Back from holiday and straight back onto the front page of the Express:
Day 14 drew a blank and Day 15 Alzheimer's was back again but still of no use having been crossed off on Day 7. Day 16 saw the Weather make a comeback and yet another How to Live Longer but we're still three squares short of finishing.
But Day 17 saw the Express give in to what must have been an almost crippling urge to put House Prices on the front. Rarely could the paper have gone 17 days without having the subject on page one. There was also Diabetes but we'd crossed that off already.
Day 18 brought a hattrick of Express Bingo stories... but none we didn't already have. Foreigners!, How To live Longer and Kate Middleton now making up for lost time.
Day 19 brought more Kate and Day 20 brought more Alzheimer's but Day 21 brought the Benefits story we'd waited so long for (as well as a Weather story).
Day 22 brought more Diabetes and Day 23 brought Pensions and Alzheimer's. Day 24 saw one time fixture on the front of the Express Diana make a long-awaited return along with a story telling us How To Live Longer (get less sleep). Day 25 had Foreigners! and Day 26 had more Foreigners!. Day 27 it was Foreigners! again and Day 28 had advice on How to Live Longer (take less paracetamol) and a picture of Kate Middleton. But still the wait for Arthritis continued...
...until Day 29 when this headline appeared: