Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

December 19, 2013

Crosswords

Filed under: At home,Normal Life — Janice @ 9:41 pm

I heard tonight on the radio that the crossword puzzle is 100 years old this weekend. The very first puzzle was published in a New York newspaper 100 years ago on the weekend before Christmas and it was a big success and became quite the fad for the next 10 years. Of course the fad is still going.

I have a crossword puzzle laying right here by the computer, but I don’t know if I’ll get around to working it. My printer has an app that prints it for me automatically and I am lazy about actually doing it.

I do love crossword puzzles. There have been times in my life where I’ve been pretty good at them. Back in my early radio days we would get the Amarillo Daily News at the radio station in the morning and my roommate Beth, who was also a copywriter for the station, would each work it furiously, comparing notes and helping one another –well, usually she helped ME, not the other way around.

I think I got into the crosswords the deepest 20 years ago when I was working for Metro Traffic Control in Dallas. They are the folks that do the traffic reports on the radio. I had worked in the airplane morning and afternoon for a time and then came in to the offices to work for a few months before I left. While I worked in our building, on the 50th floor of Reunion Tower in downtown Dallas (yes, inside the iconic ball), my coworkers and I became AVID (freakish is probably the word) crossword puzzlers. We had our jobs to do and we did that well, but in the times between reports, we would whirl around and face the center of our bullpen and compare notes on our puzzles and help one another. This, of course, was before the Internet so we couldn’t easily look things up so we would share our personal knowledge and also wear out a dictionary looking for words, like Schipperke. I still know that breed of dog because of those days. I’m sure there are other things I learned in that time.

The crossword breeds a compulsiveness in the solver. I absolutely hated leaving clues unsolved or having that ONE LETTER that you were unsure. It always seemed to make no sense that I could have every letter in two different words, but still not be certain what the one letter they had in common was. Of course, that is what makes a good puzzle. I only liked the puzzles that had the theme with the long answers that were all tied together. If I at least understood the theme I felt a great sense of satisfaction back in those crossword days.

There’s been a million movies and romance novels where the hero and heroine work the New York Times Sunday crossword together in happy companionship. I have never had help with a crossword in my life from Mark, but I still can dream. I know all I have to do is ask and he will supply the answer to the good music questions like “Aretha has it” on this one on my desk right now.

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1 Comment »

  1. Somehow I had skipped over this blog. Sure glad I found it. I like it.

    Comment by pat — December 27, 2013 @ 5:46 am

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