MOVarazzi

Friday, September 9, 2011

506. Easy-Peasy New York Times Crossword Puzzle

I am not a crossword kinda gal. Seeing all those empty white squares makes me want to grab a handful of crayons and color them in muted ombre variations, like an art project. I am not sure where this fear of crosswords comes from, except possibly that they make me feel dumb. I tried them in high school, again in college, and from time to time while waiting for planes at the airport. My first mistake was not using a pencil with an eraser. My second mistake was not memorizing every piece of trivia that has been introduced to my beleaguered brain since 1982. Crosswords are very, very hard, and I have all the half-finished and quarter-finished relics to prove it.

So it should come as somewhat of a surprise that I picked up The Husband’s crossword puzzle book off the dining room table and began to leaf through.

It was funny, I never realized that The Husband was a fan of crossword puzzles. In our 11-year marriage, he had never mentioned this interesting tidbit about himself. But there it was, in black (ink!) and white, page after page of neatly filled-in boxes of letters, most even spelling actual words.

Now, The Husband is a sharp guy. He has some important cost-analyzing-type job where he tells big companies what they can spend (this bossiness about spending carries over into our personal life as well). He is very good at what he does, and I was thrilled to discover this fun, literary side of him.

If The Husband can do crossword puzzles, maybe I can, too! It had been a while (a decade, maybe longer) since I had attempted one, possibly my brain had matured and captured all that information that is necessary for crosswords.

You know where this is going. I decided to answer a couple of the questions. I scanned the clues for one I could recognize: “33 Across: Skip to my _____.” Lou? Lou! It fit! Wow, this wasn’t as hard as I remembered. Getting older makes you smarter, not dumber!

After this initial confidence boost, I decided to try a few more. “16 Down: The main color of a stop sign.” Red! Wait—was this a trick question? That seemed a little obvious. Maybe it was burgundy. Maroon. Reflective, was that a color? I scanned the puzzle, 3-letters. Red was the correct answer!

Why did I think crossword puzzles were so difficult all those years? What was I so scared of?

“2 Down: Typical.” Uh, normal? No, usual? Right!

The complex puzzle progressed like this for the next three and a half hours until each and every square was finally filled in. (The only one I really stumbled on was “Last name of the author of Winnie the Pooh.” How should I know? I haven’t read any of those books in years. But, luckily I was able to piece together that it was Yilnx from the answers in the squares going the other direction. This made me feel smart and resourceful, traits I am sure Mrs. Yilnx would appreciate.)

I looked over my puzzle with an immense feeling of smugness and self-satisfaction. I could hardly wait to tell The Husband about my newfound (latent) crossword genius skills! He was out running some errands but would be back soon. Gosh, he was going to be so impressed.

I was giving the crossword book a little hug, as if to say, Thank you for reinstating my confidence in my abilities, and showing me that I can do something hard if I focus and put my mind to it, when in walks my second-grade son Tall.

“Oh, good, Mommy, you found my crossword book!”

MOV

11 comments:

  1. I have a former classmate from high school who actually creates crossword puzzles for the New York Times (and other papers, too).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Expatresse,

    I wonder if your friend is the one who dreamed up "Color of a stop sign"? Wow, what a job that would be to design the puzzles! Seems like a movie I saw some time ago starred a character who wrote the puzzles too (Michelle Pfeifer? What Lies Beneath? could be wrong).

    I am just extremely proud of myself for completing an entire puzzle (we will ignore the part that it was aimed at small children, I will take whatever small accolades I can get).

    best,
    MOV

    ReplyDelete
  3. I find crossword puzzles addicting. I get a book and feel compelled to work at them every spare moment I have until I finish the entire book. Same think with Sudoku. I've decided that it's best if I stick with books that don't require a writing implement. :)

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  4. Le'Ann,

    My mom is super-into Sudoku, too! Every time she mentions it, I think she is talking about the Japanese knives (Santoku) that we sell at the high-end kitchen store. "I am buying another Sudoko book, MOV!" "Huh? They sell books about knives? is it, like, an advertisement or something? what do you mean 'another'? wouldn't one book on the topic be enough??"

    best,
    MOV

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm terrible at crosswords, and I was a literature major, so you'd think the whole putting-words-in-boxes thing would come easily to me. Instead I usually end up yelling at the crossword that its subject matter is shallow and irrelevant and it's stupid. Because I'm mature.

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  6. I am a word search gal. Sudoku and crosswords are a bit above my pay grade...

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  7. haley, you are my new best friend.

    lori, where are you searching for these words? I am usually searching for my words in the wine aisle, words like "Pinot Grigio," "Reisling," and "Chardonnay." Ahhhh, happy words....

    best,
    MOV

    ReplyDelete
  8. My words are more "buttercream", "peanut butter", and "chocolate"... Just keep mama supplied in sugar and she is happy.

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  9. ah, yes, those are my alternate words. A new (bad) word I found is: etsy. Save your wallet! Run for the hills!

    best,
    MOV

    ReplyDelete
  10. I will take your Etsy and raise it with eBay. It is my happy place. But I do love an Etsy fix... *sigh*

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  11. I think you might have commented on the wrong spot. But I used to be soooooo addicted to eBay! I should really write a post all about that. It was bad. Always checking my watch (like a drug dealer?!?) if my auction I was wanting to bid on was near closing so I could swoop in and "snipe"! (Yes, I was one of those...)

    best,
    MOV

    ReplyDelete

When you write a comment, it makes me feel like I won the lottery or at the very least like I ate an ice-cream sundae. (This has nothing to do with the fact that I did just eat an ice-cream sundae.)