Zen and The Art of Crossword Puzzles

I enjoy a good crossword puzzle. I usually work one or two a day but on Sunday, it’s Crossword-Palooza at my house. Between the two Sunday papers that we have delivered, my wife and I share four crossword puzzles. I get three and she does one. I don’t know why it turned out that way but I’m not complaining.

I never attempt The New York Times puzzle because it is designed for crossword masochists, who revel in the pain that is ignorance. Plus, on Sunday, the New York Times puzzle is so hard that I just save it from one week to the next when the answers are printed and fill it out from there. That way I get most of the clues right.

As I struggled through today’s puzzle in the Chicago Sun Times, I had a revelation. I had any epiphany. I had more coffee. And I contemplated the plight of the crossword puzzler and his/her connection to real life.

For instance, we don’t even have a name for what we are. I have heard the term “cruciverbalist” batted around but this word cannot be found in any dictionary. I therefore propose a new made-up word for us. Cross-worders is our new categorical listing, so stand up and be counted.

I have always contended that cross-worders know more things than regular people. For instance, what is the name of a dulled fencing sword? What do you call a small sewing case? How about a Mexican pot? If you are a cross-worder, you know that the answers are épée, etui, and olla. So if we know stuff that other people don’t know, it is no wonder that crossword puzzles parallel the philosophy of life. Let me explain.

Life has its ups and downs. Crosswords have acrosses and downs. Both are hard to figure out some times, but if you forge ahead, eventually you will almost win.

Life teaches us a lot of lessons and crosswords teach us a lot of new words. For instance, before today, I had no idea that an atelier was artists studio, but now I do…and so do you.

Crosswords can be stressful, frustrating, and anger inducing, just
Ike life. Neither life nor crosswords can be completed without making a few mistakes. You fix them and move on.

Occasionally you find a crossword puzzle that is so easy, you complete it in a few minutes, and some days the puzzle is so difficult that Noah Webster himself wouldn’t know these words. No matter what happens today, there will be another puzzle in the paper tomorrow and you can start over again. Just like life.

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One Response to Zen and The Art of Crossword Puzzles

  1. MOG says:

    Hiking?? Really? That’s why you slept so well. Nothing like fresh mountain air and tainted water for a good night in the sack.

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