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.