This is a Stream of Consciousness Saturday entry. If you’d like to play along, click on the picture below.
Today’s prompt: find
Find-A-Word. Know what I’m talking about? Where you’re given a grid of letters and a list of words that are hidden in the grid, and you have to look for them? They’re also called Word Searches. It’s a pencil puzzle, like a crossword, an acrostic, or Sudoku.
I love pencil puzzles, and always have. Any time I had some spare money, where some kids would buy comic books, I’d buy puzzle magazines. I’d spend hours working on all the puzzles in them. Dell had a magazine that came out every month that had some crossword puzzles, some word searches, some fill-it-ins where you’d have to put the appropriate words into the right set of squares. My favorites were the acrostics. You’d have to figure out the words in a list, then enter the letters into a grid to spell out a quotation. I also liked the logic problems, where you were told a story and had to figure out from a set of clues how to answer the question they posed after the setup. There were some puzzles I could never work out. The cryptograms, where a quotation was coded with a simple substitution cipher and you had to figure out what it was. Or the puzzles they now call kakuro. I’m not even sure how to describe it.
No matter. My favorites were always the crosswords. I remember how excited I was when I figured out my first diagramless crossword. I got really good with crosswords. At one point, I was doing both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times Sunday crosswords in about two hours. IN PEN. I don’t call myself an expert, but I’ve spent at least 10,000 hours doing crosswords.
When I started traveling a lot, I always used to get a couple of puzzle magazines and would do the puzzles while I was on airplanes or waiting for them, or in hotel rooms, or during meals. They kept me out of a lot of trouble.