October 26, 2021
Melissa had several appointments with the doctor last week and that generally entails my going along to listen to the results and lend support during the long hours of waiting. I was not worried since I have the crossword game I play on my phone and the local newspaper that provides a crossword each morning. I retrieved the paper from the driveway on Monday and as I sat, I began to work the puzzle. I filled in the first across but when I got to the second set of letters the clue did not seem to meet the spaces available in the grid. I am sometimes fooled by the obvious answer rather than the answer the puzzle intends, so I switched and tried to complete the down clues. Again, none of my answers matched the number of letters on the grid. I randomly tried several other clues and realized the grid and the clues did not match. I put the puzzle aside and went back to my phone.
Crossword puzzles are said to be the most popular and widespread word game in the world, yet they have a short history. The first crosswords appeared in England during the 19th century. They were an elementary kind and derived from the word square, a group of words arranged so the letters read alike vertically and horizontally. These were printed in children’s puzzle books and various periodicals. In the US, the crossword developed into a serious adult pastime. The first known published crossword puzzle in a Sunday newspaper was December 21, 1913, in the New York World. During the early 1920’s other newspapers picked up the pastime and within a decade crossword puzzle grids were featured in most American newspapers. This is also when the familiar crossword grid of today was formed.
When I tried to answer the crossword for Tuesday and Wednesday, I found the same problem with the grid. I was wary when I picked up Thursday’s paper, and thinking I needed to call the publisher and complain. The crossword grid gives me far more pleasure than the short news stories I glean from the other pages. The second page of the front section is where the errata items are published. You can imagine my joy when I found Monday’s clues and grid republished in the Thursday paper. This happened again on Friday (Tuesday’s grid) and Saturday (Wednesday’s grid). I was able to complete two puzzles on each of the three days. It was not the same, but I was happy to complete my grid.
Thoughts: Not being able to complete the morning crossword put the entire first part of my week askew. I have a steady routine of getting up, starting my coffee while I go outside and retrieve the paper and the mail, taking my OTC vitamins, and then settling down to completing the crossword grid. While I appreciated the double grid opportunities later in the week, I would have liked it more if I could have done them at the appointed time. I sometimes marvel at how little things can throw me off, and at how happy I am when they are corrected. During the pandemic all the little things we normally do have been thrown off. Like most of us I was not happy. With the rapid rise in vaccinations the country decided to go back to normal, resulting in a drop in vaccinations and a rise in covid cases. There are times when it is more important to protect those around you (and yourself) than returning to a normal grid. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.