For several years now I have done the New York Times crossword puzzle every single morning. The puzzle gets progressively harder during the week–I can complete Monday and Tuesday’s puzzles in 3-4 minutes. Wednesday usually takes around 10. By Thursday though, it’s game on. I’ve occasionally done it in less than 30 mintues (with no Googling), but that is rare. Fridays are even harder and usually Saturday is downright impossible unless you know every obscure fact known to man.
Recent Saturday clues included:
- Hiiumaa Island belongs to it (Estonia)
- Unstable leptons (taus)
- Humans as opposed to an animal, notably (reasoner)
For the record, I did get the above answers, but only after piecing them together from intersecting letters. I can spend an hour on a Saturday puzzle and usually have to resort to Google for the answers.
Not being gifted athletically, I have always enjoyed word games. And the NYT puzzle is, for me, the ultimate. It took me a few months, but I finally realized that you often have to read the clues in a couple of different ways. Once you “get” it, solving becomes lots easier.
Everyday after I finish the puzzle, I also visit a blog called Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle. Here I see commentary on that day’s puzzle and an explanation of the words I missed. Last week, Rex included a link to this article at the online magazine, Slate. For some reason, the author has a real bone to pick with us crossword puzzle people. You can get a flavor of the article from the following:
Need I suggest that those who spend time doing crossword puzzles, uselessly filling empty boxes (a metaphor for some emptiness in their lives?)–could be doing something else that involves words and letters? It’s called reading.
Truly one of the silliest things I’ve ever read.
So I can only deduce that the author of the online article is just another jealous solver who can’t finish the Monday NYT puzzle in under 15 minutes. His article will be forgotten in a week or so. But the NYT crossword will go on.
And I will go on solving it, every morning.