Friday, November 6, 2009

6 Across: Cryptic Obsession


It's been raining criss-crosses these days. I have shreds of newspaper all over the carpet, all opened to the puzzles pages. I used to throw them away but these days realize that if it's a fad with him and he suddenly forgets about it, at least I have proof of this very surprising development.

NY Times puzzles. The Daily Commuter puzzles. And even if he doesn't touch these, he's bound to at least attempt half a Bonus Crossword. So far the consensus is that The Daily Commuter is Easy-Medium, with NY Times and the Bonus Crosswords being closer to Medium-Hard. We do try to solve at least 80% without help from Google or Crossword Solvers. And he tries to solve at least 50% of that 80% without my input but so far it's closer to 30% to 40%. He's getting better at it though.

As obsessions come, this is one of the few that have seen him intensively sit for 2 to 3 hours straight on the same spot on our carpet. A close second is his code-style math workbooks. The only thing that comes close or even exceeds puzzle hours so far are his all-time favorite (no, not ice cream): movies!

Thankfully, the crosswords are packed with lots of catalysts for fun learning moments. Titus or Tiberius abbr? EMP (both were emperors of Rome). Arizona's ___ Mountains? GILA. Kyoto honorific? SAN.

We sure get a kick out of guessing some of these and realizing we were spot on after all (he's quite particular that I'm very sure about my guesses or he won't write them down, eventhough he uses a pencil).

Here's a fun website on little tidbits about, and on solving, the daily New York Times puzzles. And here's one of our favorite Crossword Solvers, used when we are truly stuck.

19 Down: Stoned Exclamation


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