Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Puzzle a Day Keeps Bad Luck Away

My parents were puzzle people. Every day, my mother and father would grab the paper and whoever got their hands on it first would get to do the puzzles. Mother usually did the Jumble puzzle and Cryptoquip, and Father was the master of the crossword puzzles. He would work on them for hours, listening to his classical music station and letting his mind go to work. During his later years, he was unsteady on his feet because he had had several strokes, but it didn't affect his mind, only his legs, and later on his handwriting.

When Dad was finished with the crossword puzzle, he would come out of his room and announce that he had finished it. He would never give up, never cheat and look at the answers, but somehow, always seemed to finish them. Even the tough one, like the New York Times Sunday puzzle!

Well, I've inherited my mother's love for the Jumble and Cryptoquip. Seldom a day goes by when I can't complete them. I always judge the voodoo of the day by my ability to complete at least these two. If I can get it, it's going to be a good day. If I'm stumped, then who knows what luck will follow, probably bad luck!

So, my morning ritual is to retrieve the newspaper as soon as I get up, toss the news aside for later, and look for the puzzle page. Lately my morning news people have been playing around with where to put it, it was in it's own section for a while, then that got a little thin, then they combined with with the sports, then they just put the comics and the puzzles in one little thin two page section all by itself. Works for me! Now I can find it easily by looking for the colored pages.

I've found out that MonkeyGirl likes to do the puzzles also. She is doing the "girl" puzzles (aka, the ones Mother and I do/did), and she tackles the crossword puzzle. I think she can do Suduko and some others, we'll have to wait for her comment to see which ones she actually does. I seldom have time for the crossword puzzle, and I'm not good with names of stars of movies and songs, so I would have to spend all day on that. I'm terrible with numbers so Sudoko is out of the question. MonkeyGirl started me on the "Wonder Word" word search, and now I have three I try to do each day.

So, get this, Pulitzer Publications or whatever you are called these days--CUT OUT THE PUZZLES AND YOU LOSE ME AS A CUSTOMER. It's probably the only reason I subscribe to the newspaper.

My mother and father were as sharp as tacks until the day they died. I attribute that to their daily nurturing of brain power by doing the daily puzzles. Sometimes when I can't think of a name or an answer on Jeopardy, I wonder whether my mind is turning to mush, but I'm hoping that my puzzle days are long, and they keep me sharp until I wander off into the sunset.

Bye bye for today, I have to go get the newspaper.

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