I’m a glutton for punishment.

Have you ever known someone (or read of someone) who says something like, “I can complete the Sunday New York Times crossword.  In 10 minutes.  In pen.”  I view such people with a mix of annoyance, consternation, and envy.

I no longer get the daily paper.  I like to read, and I like to stay up on current events, but this comes into conflict with my schedule.  Being a homeschooling mom of four, newspaper reading has become a luxury that I could no longer afford — from a time standpoint, not a monetary one.

Every once in a while, though, the newspaper person will drop a free daily paper on my driveway, and I take this as a sign from God that I’m supposed to allow myself the time spent on doing the daily crossword. 😀 (The newspaper is the Arizona Republic, but they publish the syndicated United Feature crossword.)  As mentioned, I can’t do it in 10 minutes, and I never use pen, but given the chance, I can almost always complete the whole thing with no assistance (no dictionaries, atlases, or asking hubbies for help), working on it off-and-on throughout the morning.  Today’s, I filled in every answer, except for two letters.  I think I know what they are, but not for certain, so they stay unfilled-in.

Today’s crossword success soothed my sense of being just-shy of illiterate after tackling yesterday’s NY Times crossword.  Ugh.  We do get the Sunday paper, and nearly every week, I pull out the crossword, thinking — wrongly — that my knowledge and crossword skill has now elevated to NY Times status, and that, surely, I can complete it this time.  The best I’ve ever done is about half.  And that took me working on it all week.

Last night, after our family spent a fun — but extremely hot — hour and a half in the back yard throwing the baseball, eating ice, and hanging out together, I curled up in the corner of the couch with my pencil, atlas, the dictionary, and the Sunday NY Times crossword, which our paper carries in syndication.  (For the Times puzzle, I do allow myself those two helps — the atlas and the dictionary, though, frankly, the dictionary rarely helps.)  After a while spent on it, my hubby glanced at my progress, and encouragingly said, “Whaddya got?  Four words?”  🙄

This morning, determined to improve on my twenty words or so completed — not four, thankyouverymuch! — I decided to sit down at my computer and do a bit of Googling.  Quickly, I got the answers to three words that would have otherwise completely evaded me.  I felt a mix of triumph and dissatisfaction.  More on the “dissatisfaction” side.  It felt a bit… unclean.  It felt like cheating.


So, it’s back to feeling beaten by a bit of newspaper, and humbly admitting that I’m not (yet, anyways!) the type who can whip those out with no effort.      


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on August 20, 2007, in Puzzles & Games, Random Stuff, Whining. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I do it online (it’s easier to cheat) at Pogo.com

    that way I’m rationed. 😉

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