THAT CROSSWORD OBSESSION
Solving crossword puzzles just might be the world’s most popular pastime. Kings and ditch diggers alike put pencil to paper daily as they fill in those little squares in search of a solution.
The passion for word games dates to the Greeks of the 6th century and acrostics have been around since the days of the Romans; but, the actual crossword puzzle that we know today was introduced in 1913. It was invented in England and once it crossed the ocean to our shores that was “all she wrote”. The obsession had begun and it spread like wildfire.
I’ve found, in my own case, that a puzzle a day keeps the boredom at bay. That, and a good book, are my daily companions and I’d be lost without them. But there are many people who could care less and you can spot them easily. They are the ones who give a loud, disgusted sigh when a “puzzler” calls out, “5 letters starting with A meaning sour.” For lovers of crossword puzzles that is just something we do but it really annoys the people who don’t care for them. I try to keep my enthusiasm checked if I find myself in their presence.
My father’s favorite Sunday activity was to solve the New York Times puzzle so I grew up in this atmosphere. He considered this a family project and would include us all in his search for just the right word. It was great fun and we all celebrated when another week’s puzzle had been solved.
Recently I came across this little poem written in the 1920’s and it gave me a chuckle because I often find my head filled with words from the crosswords that I’m working on.
“Anger, ire, temper, rage !
Era, epoch, eon, age !
Do, re, me and fa, so, la,
Egyptian sun god, Ra, Ra, Ra !”
I was bitten by the “crossword bug” a long time ago and it has only increased in intensity over the years, so I guess I will go to my grave calling out clues. How about this one? “Two small words in 6 letters, starting with T and ending with D, meaning Finale ?”
T _ _ _ _ D