6 Sep

Since the pandemic lockdown, I’ve been devouring crosswords as a way to combat boredom and intellectual atrophy. And I am apparently not the only one: crossword compilations I’ve ordered online are frequently out of stock, and the shelves of our local bookstore are cleaned out of the newer books of puzzles. Serendipitously, this crossword mania also seems to be having a moment of youth-inspired “rediscovery.” New crossword puzzle creators are appearing in The New Yorker and other publications, hipsters who are eschewing the dreary old clues such as “16th century Dutch coin” or “African root plant” for references to Hip Hop musicians and far too many (for me) Harry Potter and NEW series “Star Wars” entries. It’s fun and invigorating, even when I have to cheat to figure out the lyrics to a 2001 #1 recording by Cardi B or whatever the name of Dumbledore’s sidekick is (yes, I made that up, only showing how complete is my ignorance of Harry Potter characters).

Having finished all the puzzles in my most recent NYT compilation of Sunday ones, and unable to get any of the newer ones I tried for, I desperately grabbed some compilations that were available at Vroman’s, our local bookshop. Starting to work my way through them, I was initially perplexed that there were no TV show references, and lots and lots of Shakespearean clues.  Only then did I realize this book had compiled NYT crosswords from the 1970s!  The difference in tone and attitude was immediately striking! No wonder puzzlers were until recently seen as grandmas and nerdy or crusty old retired professors. Let’s hear it for the renaissance in puzzle making brought on by a new generation of hipster nerds! Now if I could only find some more compilations to do by hand rather than online. Please, young uns, for we oldsters, do remember to put out some compiled books of your brilliant works, so that we can take pencil to paper (I never use a pen!) to complete another crossword a day! 


2 Responses to “Crosswords”

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