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 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.


  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!


  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!


  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:)


  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!!!🥴


  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.


  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.


  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…

    Liked by 1 person

  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.


  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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