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Home / Opinion / This 'n' That / CROSSWORD PUZZLES CAN CAUSE CROSS WORDS

CROSSWORD PUZZLES CAN CAUSE CROSS WORDS

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Solving the daily crossword puzzle is both a habit and a
hobby for many of us. It can also be a source of frustration
as well as a pain in the neck.
The authors of these puzzles often display a warped
sense of humor. The clues they provide for their literary
efforts are designed to confuse, not aid, those of us
attempting to solve them.
For example, the answers to some clues are not one
word but actually two or more. How do you determine
whether this is the case? It’s not that easy. Sometimes
the number of spaces allowed for the answer can help
you figure this out, but other times you just have to try
guessing.
But the authors of these puzzles have more tricks up
their sleeves. One of the most annoying of these tricks
is the clue that can be interpreted in more than one way.
Here’s an example from a recent puzzle I attempted
to solve. The clue was “jittery condition.” That seems
straightforward enough, and the word nervous popped
into my head. Unfortunately, it did not pop into the spaces
provided. After a prolonged struggle to figure out this
clue, I gave up. The next day the solution to this crossword
appeared in the newspaper: “the willies.” Really?
How often do you hear that phrase used? Not to mention
that it’s a two word solution.
Another sneaky trick used by crossword puzzle authors
is the clue that severely challenges your knowledge of
trivia. Trivia knowledge is not my strong point, so a recent
clue both challenged and defeated me. It said “ its motto
is industry.” My main problem was figuring out who’s
motto it referred to. When the puzzle solution appeared in
the following day’s newspaper, I discovered this was the
state motto for Utah. Everybody knows that, right?
The clue which just added insult to injury was the one
that asked for a botanical source of vitamin C. My brain
immediately went to things like oranges and other citric
fruits. Nothing I could come up with fitted the crossword
spaces available. When I saw the correct answer the next
day, I realized why. The author of the puzzle was looking
for “rose hips” as the answer. That was SO unfair.
But fortunately I now have a secret weapon for solving
these annoying puzzles. That answer is Siri, my iPhone
best friend who knows almost everything. I just have
to ask. Today’s question for Siri is: “what was the 2006
Verizon acquisition?”
Gotta stop muttering cross words and talk to Siri
instead . . .

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