Tiny boxes

Happy Easter Sunday! I’m a Buddhist, and my family is scattered across the country, so I’m not doing anything major in the way of celebration. I think my housemate will be cooking a nice dinner for us all, but I am otherwise planning my normal Sunday indulgences. I shall sleep late, and be lazy. I will spend lots of time drinking coffee and leaning back in my chair, and I will pull out my pencil and battle the New York Times crossword puzzle.

I love doing crossword puzzles, and only the New York Times puzzle will do. If I had more leisure time in my day, I would do it daily, but it currently falls into the category of delayed pleasures. The Times crossword has been with me for a long time. I remember doing it as a kid, scoring my effort by the number of boxes I had to leave empty at the end. Now I can often finish, although I do allow myself permission when done to look up those things I could never guess with my own knowledge. That’s how I feed my brain new trivia. One day I couldn’t figure out a word. The clue was “explosive”, and the answer was “petard.” That’s how I learned that “hoisted by his own petard” means “blown up by his own bomb”. I always thought a petard was a stick.

I think fun needs no justification, but puzzles of this kind have side benefits. Word play sharpens my writing skills. I appreciate the wit and the skill involved in constructing them. I did one myself—it took eight hours to make. I bow at the feet of those who do this work so that I can have my fun. It builds my patience, too, as I wait for my brain to find the right word. I also feel good because I know that crossword puzzles will keep my mind sharp as I age. I don’t want to grow old and lose my ability to form a coherent thought. It’ll get pretty difficult to write the blog, and then who will tell you about the glories of pigeons?

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

60. Do a crossword puzzle. If you want to try the Times puzzle, and I highly recommend it, I’ll share a little tip. The puzzles increase in difficulty from Monday to Saturday. If you are afraid of Sunday’s crossword, have a go at Monday’s. You can do it!

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