I've been in a blogging slump. I could blame that on my associate leaving, and replacing her work with my own, causing me to be too tired to write. Instead, I will blame it on my new addiction......crossword puzzles.
I used to try the Sunday Times and give up. Sometimes I'd work on a weekday puzzle, IF I was stuck in court, and IF I found a paper. A few months ago I worked through a Sunday puzzle in earnest, breezed through a Monday, and found myself unable to stop. I had (have) to do one every day....sometimes more than one.
Here are a few things worth knowing about crossword puzzles:
1. The NY Times is very easy on Monday (trust me on this), and gets progressively harder each day of the week. The Sunday Times is at about a Thursday level. At the moment I am good through Wednesday and sometimes Thursday. I generally can't do much with the Friday or Saturday. However, I have noticed that doing them regularly leads to discernable improvement, which already makes it a better hobby than golf.
2. Since I can't touch the Friday Times puzzle, I do the Friday Wall Street Journal puzzle. They only have that one puzzle per week. It's a good one....quirky, challenging and fun. Like the Times, it usually has a "theme", and sometimes it's offbeat, and very satisfying once you "get it".
3. Puzzles are fun to do with other people. One weekend I was away with a group of friends, and five of us did the Sunday puzzle together. One person had the pen and would call out clues "6 letters for 'does just all right....ends in y", and someone would yell out "gets by" and the others would say "WOW, put that in". It's interesting to see people's strengths and weaknesses in play. I am useful for anything related to baseball, but useless on most contemporary culture.
4. One weekend, I went online to try to find one last answer (hey, there's no law against it!) and I discovered a great website, called "Rex Parker Does the New York Times Crossword Puzzle"
http://rexwordpuzzle.blogspot.com/ He does the puzzle every day and offers hilarious and insightful commentary. I try to check him out after I have gone as far as I can. Rex has really improved my game.
5. I want to also recommend a documentary about crossword puzzles, called "Wordplay".
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0492506/ It features NY Times puzzle editor Will Shortz, and many celebrities, including Bill Clinton. It is very well done, worth a netflix or video store visit. I was pleasantly surprised to find the DVD at my local video store.
Happy cruciverbalizing everyone!!
Tomorrow, a movie review.