By: Daniel Kendle
Happy holidays dear readers, I hope you’re having a good winter break. I got a gift for you! Here, open it.
(Crumpling paper) Oh hey, it’s a box. With a piece of paper inside. Turn it over, you’ll see.
Why, it’s a crossword puzzle! Those thingies are always fun to do on a whim. You know, sitting down with a cup of juice in the morning, struggling on the 3rd word until you inevitably give up and look up the answer key on Google, good times.
What? Why am I giving you a present? Well, it’s the holiday season, why not? It’s April? Ha, what ludicrous nonsense. My watch says otherwise.
10:02, Monday, April 24.
Oh. Maybe it’s time to get a new watch. Why does it say that it’s April?
Well, getting back to the topic at hand, crossword puzzles are one of the USA’s favorite newspaper pastimes, alongside the comics section and advice columns. I decided to take it upon myself in order to fascinate the world with this age-old puzzle. Thus, I’ve done the challenge of doing a crossword puzzle every day for over a month (March-April).
For the specific puzzle, I chose to complete the New York Times’ crosswords, specifically one known as the Mini. It’s basically a smaller, bite-sized square that has about 10-15 words, and is more digestible. This isn’t to say that it’s easier, but quicker, yes. Mainly because it takes a solid chunk of time to do a large crossword puzzle, and I wanted to make this article sooner rather than later.
For those who don’t know how crossword puzzles work, you basically have a bunch of boxes to put words in, and those boxes intersect with other boxes to connect to each other with shared letters. The Mini works like this, though is just more tightly wound.
Anyways, I’ve prepared 3 rules from my gatherings in the field to help others with their dreams of crossword claim. Here they are.
1.) ALWAYS LOCATE THE EASY JUNK
Whenever you start a new puzzle, it’s always important to look for the brain dead phrases. Stuff like “What sound does a cow make?” moreover than “What’s my home address?” (Don’t answer that). Once you’ve found the gimmes, then you can move onto the harder stuff.
2.) AUTO-CHECK IS A FRIEND. A VERY VERY VERY GOOD FRIEND
In life, we always have “that” friend. The friend that is by our side no matter the circumstances. The friend that is willing to give their entire financial credibility to help us out of a problem. The friend that’ll dig a hole into their room to get them out of being grounded (thanks Lil’ Timmy!) and in this case, your friend is Auto-Check. This system checks to see if a letter is correctly placed in a square, that way you’re not just blindly guessing. Some call this a cheat-sheet, though I moreover think of it as a helpful little…cheat-sheet.
3.) BE SMART
There are numerous different words in the English lexicon – at least 10, last time I checked – and it takes time for one to memorize to remember words and such. So do it. Read up on dictionaries, quiz with cordial associates such as your loved ones, and read through solved crossword puzzles to know what kinds of questions are asked.
Alright, I hope all of this has been helpful to you and your crossword-solving pursuits. Let my experience guide you forward into the blissful beyond that is The New York Times crossword puzzle. In fact, here’s a link to their page with all their games!