Crossword #SOL21 3/31

When all else fails, there’s the crossword. In the world of the crossword, everything fits: every letter has its place; every word interlocks. The grid is clear even when the clues are not, the perfect combination of word thinking and pattern thinking. Even if I can’t solve a crossword, I’m comforted by its self-contained certainty.

I do the New York Times crossword. Weekdays, the puzzles are published at 10pm. I should be going to bed by ten, but lately I’ve found myself up, puzzling. What body part name comes from the Latin for “little mouse”? No idea, but – wait – I can almost capture it. I think I knew this once. It will come once I get one of the letters. When will I get the vaccine? I cannot know this; I will not think about it. Metaphor from Homer’s Odyssey, “wine dark ___”? I know that one. I keep going.

Sometimes the puzzles feel like old friends: clues I half recognize, names I dredge up from the past, facts I can place without batting an eye. Sometimes they delight me with their cleverness. Sometimes I am disgusted by their cleverness

Tonight, I told myself that I would be upstairs by 10, but when the time came my mind was jumpy. Monkey mind, I’ve heard it called, and these days I’ve got it. I need to settle my monkey down; racing thoughts will do me no favours as I try to fall asleep. If I just turn on the computer… there, laid out in orderly black and white squares, the reassurance that the world is, ultimately, knowable, that if I can make the right connections, I can complete something. Anything.

I do the crossword, even though I know that in the morning, I will regret having finished it tonight. Ah, well, the morning will have to provide its own reassurances. Sudoku has a lovely grid, too.

Thanks to https://twowritingteachers.org for hosting this annual challenge

17 thoughts on “Crossword #SOL21 3/31

  1. I’ve started to do the mini crossword puzzle every day and I love it! Your mention of monkey mind reminded me of a poem in Georgia Howard’s new book about mindfulness. Dawn actually sent it to me for Adi- because she can’t settle her mind at bedtime. I’ll have to send it to you.

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  2. Hi Amanda! It is so nice to “see” you outside of TTW! Your writing is beautiful and I loved reading about your ‘monkey mind’ and crossword puzzling. Thank you for sharing this snippet of your life!

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  3. Wonderful! I do the Times mini every day, and when I really feel like getting sucked in I open up the Times Spelling Bee as well. So much fun. Thank you for a delightful piece!

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  4. Loved this post. My monkey mind is currently being calmed by historical fiction. Take me out of here to another time where I can experience a different world with different struggles:)

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  5. I love doing my crosswords! Thank you for a wonderful reflection on the pastime!!

    What is the Latin for mouse/body part…I never got that one!!!🥴

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  6. i am right there with you! I do two crosswords every morning – The Atlantic and The Washington Post – while I drink my morning coffee. It gets my brain going in the morning.

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  7. “Monkey mind” and these lines, “there, laid out in orderly black and white squares, the reassurance that the world is, ultimately, knowable, that if I can make the right connections, I can complete something. Anything.”

    You have given me words to explain my jumpiness and my need to feel like I can complete something. Wordsmith… you are a wordsmith.

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  8. This is so true – the neat and comforting closure of the crossword puzzle! You remind me of me – “I think I knew this once.” I love following your train of thought from the knowable to the not. The puzzles are excellent ways to keep the brain honed and in fact are recommended as sort of a proactive measure against dementia. Hmmm. I may need to stock up…

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  9. The idea that patterns can be fragments we shore against our monkey-mind ruins lands for me, including the soothing rhythms of crossword-ese in the confused seas of a pandemic.

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  10. So great, what a good idea doing the crossword, I haven’t done one for ages, I think my brain has gone stale….yes, all those black and white squares…..what kind of mind writes them, by the way!?

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