Friday, March 16, 2007

It's A Puzzlement

I love crossword puzzles. Also Cryptoquotes. My day doesn't get off to a good start unless I do the crossword and cryptoquote in the daily paper. And, I print out the puzzle from the Washington Post and fill it in, too. In all modesty, if I do say so myself, I'm pretty darn good at it.

However, I gave up trying to work the New York Times puzzle every day, because it seems frighteningly the way it must feel when you're gradually losing your mind. On Monday, I breeze through it. Same thing on Tuesday. Wednesday I might not be able to fill in all the words, but I get enough of them to look forward to Thursday. On Thursday, things get tough, and I begin to wonder if I'm still firing on all cylinders. By Friday and Saturday, I hit a wall. I feel like a gibbering idiot, and give up trying. I usually skip Sunday, and when I peek at it on Monday, I see that my brainpower has been restored, and I can work the puzzle again. It's the same thing every week. So I have gotten off that roller-coaster, and I'm much happier for it.


As for the Cryptoquote, I can usually get it if I can locate all the e's. There's usually a "the" in the quote, so I have the "t's" and "h's", too. It's a real bonus, when I find a four letter word starting and ending with a "t". The word is usually "that". They leave me feeling as though my brain hasn't turned to mush after all.


My interest in puzzles is probably what makes me like Mystery books so much. I don't counsciously try to figure out whodunnit, but it usually comes to me at some point. If it doesn't, and I'm surprised, all the better. It is entertainment, after all.


There are some puzzles I do try to figure out. People. People are the hardest codes to crack. It fascinates me to try to figure out why people do and say what they do and say.

Generally, people piss me off. That's why I'm such a hermit, I guess. Every time I go shopping, I wonder things like, "Whatever was the manager thinking when he/she hired this moron?" Or, "Doesn't this restaurant have any standards for their waitpersons to meet, like, shouldn't they be at least marginally competent?"

And, I wonder why some people seem to be thoroughly evil? What made them that way? Is it genetic? I worked with a man who seemed to live for making things difficult for others. He made up things about other people, really mean things - some of the people, he barely knew. He used to go to the funeral homes constantly to "view the corpse", even if he didn't know the person. I think he stood there, gazing at the deceased, chanting to himself, "Nyah, nyah, nyah, you're dead and I'm not."

So, he was a puzzle to me. What happened in his life to cause him to be the way he was? I never figured that one out.

On the other hand, I knew a woman who had five very young children and a husband whose job covered several counties, so he was out of pocket on weekdays, although he was home most every night. She had every reason in the world to be nervous, edgy, neurotic, crazed trying to keep house and feed four growing boys and a girl. Yet, she had an inner glow of contentment that just warmed everyone she met.

I babysat for her one time, while she stayed at the hospital with her youngest boy, who had pneumonia. I was only there from the time school was out, and had dinner waiting when her husband arrived home. "Piece of cake " you think? I cooked a dinner that I thought should feed the whole neighborhood, and fed the kids early because daddy was late, as usual. And, those kids swarmed that table like locusts, and ate every morsel. I couldn't believe it. Dad had to have sandwiches for dinner. How did she doe it? I'm convinced I would have ended up in a padded room somewhere, doing primal scream therapy.

She must have been on drugs.

Yes, puzzles of one type or another take up a lot of my time, now that I'm retired. But, there's one puzzle I absolutely will not do. Sodu-er-sudo-um-well, you know the one I mean.


dot said...

I can't do crosswords unless they are super easy but I do love to do the cryptoquote. I don't do those sodu things either. I think word search puzzles are a waste of time. I can't see where they do anything for the mind but they could easily ruin the vision. I like the fill-ins.
Betty, you are so funny! You make my day!

Cazzie!!! said...

I love circle the words and circle the numbers, but that is it for me :)

her indoors said...

i am addicted to soduko do a couple a day

Annie said...

Funny, I find Sudoku easy to do and cyptograms completely perplexing. Different minds enjoy different challenges, I guess. Unlike you, I don't often solve the murder mystery as I read along probably because I wouldn't want to read on if I felt it was all sewn up in my mind.

Sister--Three said...

I love the crosswords and try to do
the Gazette one each day in my spare time at school and home. I don't try Sunday as I go to church and my day is busy.

I have tried the number thing sudoku or whatever. I don't like them but have tried to. One thing they give you the answer so you can cheat, when tempted to cheat I they don't work to well for me.

I, too, am a hermit when I don't have to go to work. I thought it was because I was around so many folks each day, that at home I 'needed' to be alone.

I have worked on the Cryptoquote
and mixed up words before and I like them. I guess the time element is why I mainly do the crossword.

Hey, when I retire, I may start filling out all the ones in the paper.

Funny how we change as we age. I used to read the funny page of the paper and now I just throw it away!

Your other side!

Joy Des Jardins said...

I swear, sometimes I think we must be the same person Betty. I LOVE PUZZLES.....ALL KINDS...especially word puzzles and jigsaws. I've loved them all my life. I have so many books of crosswords, cryptograms, anagrams, etc that I've had to find a special place for them...they were taking over my dining room table. I can sit for hours and do these things. But, I'm with Soduku puzzles...I leave those for my daughter.

Jay said...

I gave up Sudoku because of the same reason I don't do crosswords. I can't stand to leave it half done. I have to finish it and I become obsessed with it. So, I just stopped doing them all together.

Sister--Three said...

Jay, someday, I bet you will start the crosswords again. Just my thinking, as I was once just like you, and could only get part of it and then got so frustrated that I did not even want to try. Age will give you a little more patience I bet. In 20 years you will probably return to the crosswords...only the two Bettys probably won't be around to give you a hint on a word!

lisa dunn said...

Summer-dooz-it-whatsit is my favorite. I can almost always finish them. I have my Grandmother to thank for my lack of interest in Crossword puzzles. She never EVER let me win a game of scrabble, and SHE could finish every crossword puzzle she ever started. If she were here she'd be chuckling and giving me a little nudge to the ribs.

Ellie said...

I'm totally addicted to Sudoku...but I couldn't finish a crossword puzzle to save my life.

gawilli said...

I love puzzles, too. But like Jay, I can't stand to give up, nor do I like to look up the answers. When I can't get one I feel beaten! I gave Willi a "Tangram a Day" calendar, for the third year this Christmas. He does one every morning to start the day with is coffee and paper.

Maya's Granny said...

Like you, I love mysteries and don't try to figure them out. Sometimes I know who it is, but I like it better when I don't -- except that I loved Columbo, and you always saw the crime at the beginning.

I like to play computer games like Cubis and Mah Jong and Ishido -- sort of puzzle things, but not with words or numbers. I do crosswords on the computer sometimes. Also jigsaws. That is what happens when you live with cats -- if it has to be put on the table, they will mess it up the first chance they get.

Betty said...

Her Indoors, Ellie and Annie: I I had a hat on, I'd take it off to you. Sudoku is Greek to me.

Lisa: I can thank my grandfather for my interest in crosswords.

granny: I like some computer games, too, especially mah jongg and solitaire. And, I like the casino games, too, such as slots and poker.

Lorna said...

I love an occasional crossword puzzle but am addicted to Find-A-Word puzzles. I race against myself to beat my time on the last puzzle. Yes, I do have too much time on my hands! LOLOl As far as I am concerned regarding Soduku? It was invented by the devil! hugssss

susan said...

My grandma used to do the crosswords in ink all the time. I always wanted to be like her and do them, but...

I like logic puzzles myself. I can really get into those. And you are right, people are the biggest puzzle of all. It's facinating to try to figure out what makes them tick