Monday, May 21st, 2012

For the first time in I don’t know how many months, I turned the page in The New York Times and found a crossword puzzle that I could finish in less than a week. As it turned out, I finished it in less than an hour. Almost made my head explode.

We used to subscribe only on weekends, when the puzzle was nearly so impossible to solve that I could only get one or two words, and they were usually gimmies with clues like, &#147She went up the hill with Jack.” I’d fill that one in, then bang my head against the rest of the crossword for four or five days before giving up without managing to figure out another clue. Not that I felt especially bad about it. They were all as cryptic as “The toenail of the Sphynx, in Latin?” I’d give up in disgust, but the next weekend would come along and I’d do it all over again.

Eventually, though, I gave up entirely. There’s only so much self-defeat a guy can take. I didn’t find out until much later that the Times runs crossword puzzles that start out easy on Monday and get progressively more difficult as the days go on, until by the weekend they’re as fiendishly, tortuously, maddeningly close to impossible as a crossword can be, so it wasn’t me. It was the puzzle. It was. That’s the story I’m sticking to.

Until this spring we only got weekend delivery, and I never picked one up in the store, so I hadn’t tried any of the weekly puzzles until last week Monday, when I turned the page, paused to look at the first few clues and thought, Hey, I know the answer to all of those, and kept on going. When I was pretty sure I could fill the top left corner, I got up out of my seat to look for a pencil. Less than an hour later, the crossword was done.

I’d never finished a New York Times crossword before then. I was so jazzed about it that, as soon as I got home Tuesday evening, I went ripping through the pages, looking for the next day’s crossword. Couldn’t find one. Wednesday, same deal. And again Thursday. Sadly, the Times prints crosswords on the weekend and on Monday, as it turns out. The mid-week crosswords are only available on-line, and I’m very much a guy who pencils in his word. How cruel can life be? Well, now I know.

crossword | 9:46 pm CDT
Category: daily drivel, entertainment, hobby | Tags:
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