As a kid, I was always a huge fan of puzzles. Jigsaws, word searches, mazes; you name it, I enjoyed it. Every week, the TV Guide would appear in the newspaper. I can still remember the last page of this cheaply-made booklet; an image of a large box, filled with tiny squares, some black, others white, some numbered, and some not. Over time, I took a closer look at these puzzles and started to fill in a few answers here and there. Being ten year old, I had hardly any knowledge of the entertainment questions being presented to me. In fact, I'm sure the only clues I could answer were the ones that involved kids shows!
It wouldn't be until the year 2009 that I began to actively pursue this curiosity of crosswords...
There I was, sitting in the holding room of the Roxbury District Court, awaiting my juror number to be called. It was my first time being 'summoned to jury duty'. All that I had with me was the free Metro newspaper I picked up on the walk over. After reading it through twice, and solving both the easy and hard sudokus, all that was left to do was attempt the crossword puzzle! I attempted it, stumbled my way through the clues, and filled in maybe 10% of the grid. Little did I know that this act of solving crossword puzzles would become my strongest addiction (I know, I sound like a Grandfather with all this CW talk).
As the summer went by, I picked up a Metro almost every day. I got my roommates involved in them, and we'd sit there and attempt to get as many clues as we could, eventually turning it into a friendly competition. By the end of the summer, we were all way more knowledgeable with an array of 'useless information'.
I had talk to my Gram about how I started cross-wording, and she was thrilled. I'd call her up and ask her for answers to clues I was unsure of. Well, over time, it was brought to my attention that the New York Times Sunday puzzle was the grand-daddy of all crosswords. With a 21x21 grid fill, compared to the measly 15x15 Metro puzzle.
At the time, I was working at a Market which sold newspapers, so, one day I grabbed the puzzle, took it home to my roommates, and we got about... THREE answers. Yes, three. Embarrassing, really. They were so oddly clued, containing the most obscure people, places, and things that none of us were familiar with. Lots of abbreviations and foreign words, common phrases, as well as answers that made no sense... or so we thought. Well, after reading Rex Parker's New York Times puzzle blog, I began to pick up on some common trends and realized that each puzzle has its own theme.
A year later, and 25+ Sunday puzzles (yes, some hardly filled in without cheating) later, I've made some serious progress. In this weeks puzzle, I've filled out about 85-90% of it so far. Been working on it off and on during work since Sunday, and here we are, on Thursday. I'll give one more go at it tomorrow, and then look up the solutions. I'm excited for the day when I complete my first entire puzzle correctly, and have a feeling that day could come as soon as tomorrow!