Cross Words

Crossword

CROSSWORD PUZZLES LEAVE SOME PEOPLE BLANK

Some people just don’t understand what people like me get out of doing crossword puzzles. We sit for hours, poring over ambiguous clues, to fill in little boxes, and when we’re done, all we have is a page full of letters.  I mean, we don’t even get a prize for all that work.

As you’ve probably guessed, lots of folks, my darling wife included, do not find crossword puzzles _ _ _ (three letters across, first letter F)  Even though I’ve almost made a C_R_ _R (life’s work, six letters) out of writing and playing with words, trying to do a crossword puzzle is an agonizing chore for many.  Their minds just don’t work that way.

My wife will sit for hours without saying a word, while I do my puzzles.  If I happen to muse aloud, “What’s a four-letter word for a garden tool?” she will quickly reply, “Spatula.”  I say, “No!  I think it’s rake.” and write that down.

If I had simply asked her to name some garden tools, she could have rattled off a whole list, from rake and shovel, to trowel, spade, and ‘Garden Weazel.’  Because I specifically mentioned a four-letter garden tool for a crossword puzzle, she can’t think of a single one.  Her mind just goes BL-N- (empty, five letters)

In fact, the moment I posed that question, she couldn’t think of a garden tool to save her life, even if she were being tortured by the Spanish Inquisition.  The Inquisitor could say, “All right, heretic.  Give me a three-letter word for ‘poem’, starting with O, or I will lock you in the Iron Maiden.”  She’d probably just stand there and say, “I think it’s ‘Owl’, before they ran the sharp spikes into her body.

CROSSWORD PUZZLING

The reason that some folks can’t think of answers to crossword puzzle questions is that, whenever they’re presented with a clue, their mind becomes a big, dark room where they rummage around, trying to find something, anything, to fill in the blank spaces.  They grab onto it, and shout ‘Spatula’ for no apparent reason.

The best they can do with crosswords, is come close.  If the clue is – a beverage: P_ _, they write down PUB, which is actually fairly good, since at least a pub is a place where you can get a beverage.  If the puzzle wants ‘Lennon’s widow’ in three letters, they put down ‘Mrs.’

Crossword clues are just plain confusing to some.  They read the clue: ‘state that borders Mexico’, starting with A, and try to put in ‘Atlantic Ocean.’  Or they look at the clue: ‘High ranking marine,’ with five spaces, and try to fit in ‘humpback whale.’

Obviously, they have to write really small when they do crosswords like that.  The boxes get so crowded that they have to stack letters on top of each other.  On the other hand, sometimes the word they want doesn’t work, because they don’t have enough letters to fill in all the boxes.  The clue will be: ‘balloon filler,’ needing four spaces, and they put in AIRR.

For some, the problem started back in school, with tests that had them fill in the blanks.  They’d get the history question, ‘The Gettysburg Address was delivered by……..’  They would go into that dark room and come out with, the Post Office.  Or, on a Geography quiz, the question would be, ‘The United States capital is in……’, and they put down, ‘total confusion.’

A fellow-student in one class would look at the first question on the test and panic.  Your name……….  He would wave his hand frantically, until the teacher said, “What is it, Myron?” and quickly write Myron down.

I had an uncle who liked to enjoy the company of a crossword puzzle book and a glass of wine after dinner.  After he passed on, I happened to pick up his puzzle book and look in it.  The clue would read: Lone Ranger’s horse, and he would have written GZODKE.  He had fooled us.  He didn’t like crossword puzzles at all!  He just liked the quiet, and a chance to drink.

Wine

’17 A To Z Challenge – X

Challenge2017

Letter X

For reasons unknown to me, X has always stood for the unknown.  This post will be short, because I don’t know even more about X than I don’t know about anything else.

Even when Wilhelm Roentgen discovered electromagnetic waves that were previously unknown to scientists, he just called them X-Rays.

When pirates buried treasure, X marked the spot on a map, because, without the map, the location would be unknown.  If they’d marked the location with a Taco Bell, I could find that treasure-chest quick and easy….though there’d be a hard decision to make.  Dig up the treasure first – or have lunch at Taco Bell?  Probably dig up the gold and jewels first, and use them to pay for lunch.  Save some for a second course over at Pizza Hut.

If you are illiterate, you ‘sign’ documents with an X, because the ability to read and write is unknown to you, and then someone else must witness your signature.  Mom and Dad rented a mobile home from a man in Florida who signed with an X.  I’ve never met anyone quite that unschooled but, despite the ready availability of free education, some winners that I have met weren’t far above it.

DNA

I downloaded a prompt of Xenophobia, but with the number and degree of weird specimens that I’ve met locally, you’d have to go pretty far afield to come up with something better that I might fear or hate.  More and more people are doing what I did, getting a DNA test.  An amusing number of racist, white-supremacists are getting back results that show that they are actually 23% (or whatever) Negro.  😯  😳  I wonder how many heads have exploded under those pointy little white hoods.

It is unknown to me why road intersections are called X-crossings.  Anywhere except in this strangely-laid-out city, my squirrelly, OCD brain insists that streets should meet at right angles.  They should be called t-crossings….except that the Bible thumpers would then insist that each intersection represented the Holy cross, and we would need priests, instead of traffic cops.

Perhaps they all started out as plus signs (+), and just got drunk, or stoned, and fell over.  As Canada makes marijuana legal on July 1 (Happy Canada Day – if you remember it) we’ll see more of that.  Traffic lights will be replaced with bags of Doritos.

What a terrible thought! I think I’ll just X it out and invite you to return later, for the adventures of Y.

 

Flash Fiction #124

hospital

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

THERE’S MANY A SLIP

It wasn’t much of a fall, almost artistic, like a failed ballet step.  One little icy sidewalk patch – and suddenly he was down on his ass, examining it close-up.  He even got an ambulance ride to the hospital – and a $75 invoice.  A taxi would have been cheaper.

Tests, tests, and more tests! X-rays, CAT-scan, MRI….he almost glowed from all the radiation.  A couple of days recovery, and he would be allowed to hobble home.

He hadn’t thought his brother would even bother to visit. Someone needed to teach him flower protocol.  Lilies are not appropriate for a bad sprain.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.