My mom and I share a love of crossword puzzles. It’s not simply the thrill of being able to complete them, but like life, it’s the journey that makes it worth doing.
You never know down what road the puzzle will take you. Most crosswords make you think outside the box. In this way, you use both the logical side of your brain and the creative side.
Very often, she and I will collaborate on a puzzle; a kind of friendly competition that takes us to a mutually satisfying result.
My husband is not one to hold a lot of useless information in his head for the purpose of completing a puzzle. In fact, he is sometimes baffled when my mom and I come to the same bizarre conclusion at the same time.
He’d say, “The clue was decks. I was thinking boats and patios. How did you both come up with KOs… at the same time?”
He may not know the answer to many of the clues, but he knows how to find them. As soon as we would utter a clue, he would access his iPad and try to beat us to the answer. However, spelling is not his forte, so he uses the voice command application.
Mom always insists that I do the writing, but she is always miffed when I fill in only the ones with which I agree.
“Laura, the 1998 Winter Olympics was in Japan.”
“What number?” I asked.
“One down,” she answered.
“Not enough letters,” I said, refusing to fill it in.
I heard my husband speaking to his iPad, “1998 Winter Olympics.” I took a stab at it:
“Is there a city called Nagano in Japan?” I asked nobody in particular.
“It’s got to be Japan,” my mom said. “It has two A’s and an N.”
“Nope,” I said, subconsciously trying to beat the iPad. “What’s an A&W drink?” I asked, looking at 3 across.
“Nagano,” my husband interrupted, confirming my guess. I was pleased.
“Root beer doesn’t fit,” Mom said. “It has to be something creamy.”
“Creamy beer?” I asked.
“How about a latte topping; 6 down,” Mom tried.
“Foam,” my husband said, being a connoisseur of all things coffee-related.
“Doesn’t fit,” Mom said.
“They made a mistake. The cream goes with the coffee, not the beer,” I suggested.
“A&W products,” my husband said to his iPad. He was hoping for a chance for him and his technological gizmo to smoke us.
Then his iPad died. Low battery. He was annoyed.
As he went to retrieve his power cord, I asked him to name a song on the Beatles ’65 album. He used to own a bunch of them. Over his shoulder, he informed me that he didn’t own that one.
Minutes later, while my mom and I were calculating the northern terminus of I-79, cream soda popped into my head.
“No, Laura, I think they’re looking for a town.”
“It’s the A&W product!”
You could see my mom switching gears. Then she locked onto another clue. “Nuts,” she said.
“Don’t worry, Mom, you’ll get the next one,” I said patronizingly. She hates it when I do that.
“No, the clue is nuts,” she explained.
My husband suddenly yelled from the other room, “I’m a loser!”
Mom and I looked at each other in shock. I reassured her, “He’s not that bad.”
“No,” my husband said, witheringly, coming back into the room with his iPad and its cord. “It’s the Beatles song.”
“Oh, great!” I filled in the spaces. “See, you’re not such a loser after all.”
“You set me up,” he accused.
He prepared his iPad to accept his voice command for a map of I-79. Just as he was about to speak, my mother beat him to it. She yelled, “SCREW!” I gaped at her like a large-mouth bass. Had she lost her mind?
My husband, appalled, frantically tried to close down any questionable sites that were instantly called to his iPad with that word.
“Nut?... Screw? Right? Does it fit?” she looked at us hopefully. I stared, my husband glared.
“Um… yeah… I think we’re done here.”
Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more info.
Laura is a syndicated columnist, author, & speaker. You can reach Laura at email@example.com Or visit her website <a
for more info.