Tuesday, December 30, 2008

10-Letter Word

A 10-letter word for a smart way to pass the time? Crosswords! They’re a daily habit for me. I’m downright obsessed with them, and I’m not alone. They’ve been the most popular word puzzle in history for almost 100 years. Today in America, they are in almost every newspaper and over 40 million people solve them daily, some of them in ink! I never graduated beyond a pencil with a strong eraser, one that’s up to the job of allowing me to make revisions along the way as I’ve gotten more information or seen something in a different light. (Come to think of it, there are some parallels there to how I live my life, but that’s another blog post subject!)

I have some books of crossword puzzles, but I can’t say no to the daily crosswords in the newspaper. It’s probably my imagination, but it seems to me that they start off manageably on Monday and progressively get harder during the week, culminating in Sunday’s mindbender, which often ends up as a group effort in our family, effectively debunking the idea that crossword puzzles are a solitary endeavor.

The invention of the crossword puzzle is highly underrated, in my opinion. The benefits are many: they enrich our vocabulary and sharpen our minds; they keep our brains flexible and healthy with daily bursts of sustained cognitive effort; and they lead us into so many areas of life, culture and history. After six days of hard eight-letter words, I’m considering taking Tuesdays off from my word puzzles as a day of rest. Oh, look! Today’s crossword theme is ‘Bookends’! Maybe I’ll begin my day off next Tuesday…

(This image is actually a painting by Darren Maurer)

9 comments:

Poetikat said...

Very nice post.

One of my fondest memories of my late father who passed away in November of this year, is of working on cryptic crosswords in the "Globe and Mail" (Canadian). Even with the onset of Parkinson's a number of years ago,when my husband and I would visit he would still greet me at the door with a handful of them cut out of the paper, pen at the ready, for us to puzzle over them together.

Kat

sizzie said...

I agree that they are helpful in many ways. I have tried them, but I am not good at crossword puzzles. I can't do Wheel of Fortune either...but am pretty good at Jeopardy. Missing letters freak me out! I used to keep a jigsaw puzzle on the table, half worked and it was surprising how many people wanted to come help me put it together. That is kind of the same thing. In a way. : ) Good Post.

Peggy Johnstone said...

Poetikat, what a wonderful memory. Thanks for sharing! I notice you said your dad had a PEN in hand. Now that's a serious crossworder! LOL

Sizzie, it's funny you mentioned jigsaw puzzles, because that's another one of my obsessions (I, too, have been known to keep one on the dining room table), and I was considering doing the post today about them instead! Isn't it funny how different but the same we all are?! :-)

Poetikat said...

I only use a pen myself. I feel I'm cheating a bit with a pencil, BUT you should see the mess when I'm done! (I do little lines to separate words too - when the clue suggests more than one word.)

Kat

I'd be pleased if you'd check out my blog, Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes, when you get the chance.

willow said...

I love crossword puzzles, too, but never seem to have the time for them. Even my reading time has been cut since I've started ((blogging))!

I've so enjoyed getting to know you! I feel we are kindred spirits.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Peggy Johnstone said...

Willow, your words made me smile! Who knew blogging would take such a time commitment?! And the feelings are mutual...I've so enjoyed myself at your blog; you speak to me! :-)

sizzie said...

After reading your comments, I had to jump right in and agree..both that blogging (reading others and maintaining one) takes time, and that I like to visit yours. Peggy, your blog calms me to read, I can't explain quite how, but I like to visit. Thanks.

sizzie said...

Did you notice how none of us had any cross words, but just friendly, kind ones? : )

Peggy Johnstone said...

LOL, Sizzie! It's true, now that you mention it. I love Bloggyworld!