Saturday, January 13, 2007


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


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to be a crossword addict but I guess this addiction has been replaced with the blogging addiction these days.

3:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think I have ever done a crossword puzzle from beginning to end. Get the easy ones...move on to something else less challenging.

Both my parents were addics. Taking two newspapers so they could both work on the puzzles half the morning...every day.

Oh...and that is "the end" of this post!

4:03 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

My poor tiny brain doesn't seem to be on the same track as the puzzle-makers.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mom was an avid puzzler. I vividly remember her calling out the clues, although she really didn't need any help solving them. I am sure that her puzzling was part of why she remained so sharp mentally.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Chancy said...

I like the NYT crossword puzzles but only on the first few days of the week. After that they get too hard. My husband gets the ones toward the last of the week.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have spent many a happy hour with crosswords (especially after reading those "How to Ward off Alzheimers with Mental Stimulation" articles), but a visit from my sister-in-law got me hooked on Sudokus. There is clearly a lack of logic in my brain, but I have the fear that learning some of the tricks will take away some of the challenge. Looking at the answers the next day does nothing to show the thought process involved. Not the same when it comes to crosswords.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being very much a "word person", I do like the crosswords. Whenever I have a long wait, I pull out the crossword puzzles. :)



8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thinking your word could be Ta Da......but don't think that's
I live with a cross word addict. I used to be years ago, but Ray is truly addicted and I think it's great. We get USA Today delivered by mail every day, Mon. through Friday...and he does the ones in there and I also got him hooked on the Sudoko puzzles, so he does them from the newspaper and from the books I got him for Christmas. If he has nothing else going on, he'll do the cross word as soon as he comes back from the PO with the mail and if he's busy doing projects around the house....He'll still sit down before supper and do it. So it's definitely a good way. And yes...he always calls to ask me to

10:04 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Hey Terri: Ta Da is just 4 letters. Look at Alan G's last sentence...he's got it right. Ray would probably get it in a flash!

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smiling here! :) Great post, Ginnie.
I like crosswords too, but have never been able to complete a cryptic one :(
I thought I couldn't 'do' Sudokus, but had a go one day and now I keep a book of them by my bed and try to complete one a day, at least. Great mental exercise!

2 words (5,3), T - - - - Y - -! (An expression of gratitude) :)

4:10 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home