I feel that I've gotten through the first two letters of the alphabet while more or less concealing my inner geek. I mean, Art Deco is just a design style, and what kind of monster doesn't love baby animals? But tonight, for C, my mask is ripped off. Hello, my name is Susan, and I'm a crossword puzzle fiend.
Wait. It gets worse. For several years in the late 1980s, I periodically attended all-day crossword puzzle competitions somewhere on Long Island. Yes, that would involve completing crossword, after crossword, after crossword. All day. The one who finished each puzzle first, with no errors, won a prize of some sort. I didn't pay too much attention to the prizes, because I never won any. I was somewhere in the middle of the pack, I'd say. The winners (usually from among the same three or four people) were pretty scary. They would finish puzzles faster than it seemed humanly possible to even read all the clues. Will Shortz, who is now the New York Times puzzle editor, was always there, involved in some leadership role. This was my idea of a good time.
Oh, and I also composed a few puzzles, too. This is not an easy task for a novice. In case you've never noticed, puzzles must be symmetrical - left to right, top to bottom. And if you want to compose a NY Times Sunday puzzle, it also has to have a theme, and to preferably contain some puns. I don't like to think about how many hours it used to take for me to compose a puzzle. I didn't mind at the time, because (1) I didn't have any kids, (2) I was Queen of the Geeks, and (3) I was delusional enough to think it was fun. But now... now comes the shame.
Fast forward a lot of years. The Sunday Times puzzle is the only one I do on a regular basis, almost always over the phone with my son. I've blogged about our doing the puzzle together during the post-college year he lived at home, but now we live hours apart and so we have a weekly phone session, which I so love.
But I do the acrostic too, okay? Wanna make something of it? But alas, the acrostic only appears in the Sunday Magazine Section biweekly, so I have to wait two whole weeks in between my acrostic fixes. Sometimes I work myself up thinking that someday, Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon will retire from acrostic-making, and then what will become of my life? I shudder to think.
Leave a comment, please, if you love crosswords. Make me feel that there are others like me who manage to live relatively normal lives. I'd be very grateful.