Thursday, February 19, 2009

1. Down

I usually go for a jog over my lunch break. But yesterday was cold and rainy so I decided to skip it. To fill the time at my desk, I decided to give the daily crossword puzzle a try. I usually end up filling in a handful and giving up. But for the sake of my gentlemanly development, I’m committed to trying new things that seem refined and sophisticated. I planned on devoting the full hour and perhaps taking it home with me if I came up short.

I enlisted the help of my cubicle mate for a couple answers and consulted with google to shore up a few hunches. We ended up finishing in plenty of time. I even conquered the Jumble and most of the 3-star Sudoku puzzle before lunch was over.

In addition to a couple helpful cruciverbalist tricks regarding abbreviations, plurals and tense, I learned that I like crosswords. It’s a stimulating, but soothing activity. And it’s challenging enough to provide a sizeable sense of accomplishment when you complete one. What I like most about it is that it calls on several different aspects of intelligence at once. It’s like playing Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune at the same time.

There’s a scene in Dan in Real Life where his large vacationing family, upon fetching two newspapers, scrambles into teams of boys and girls and proceed to compete in a crossword puzzle race. I can’t imagine any family or even loose association of mine having that combination collective intellectualism and competitive spirit, but it seemed like a lot of fun. Even just doing one as a group without the race seems like a lot of fun. I’ll have to try to make that happen someday.

Either way, crossword puzzles have my endorsement as a premium gentleman pastime.

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